October 11-13 will see the Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, New York, host a world debut ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships. Club owner Will Shortz, musician Nenad Bach and the ITTF Foundation have been the key players to make the special event kick off.
One player who is thrilled to see the event making it's first appearance is Navin Kumar, a Parkinson's sufferer who plays out of the Maryland Table Tennis Club and has become a big advocate for the health benefits of table tennis with Parkinson's symptoms.
"I'm very thrilled to be a part of a table tennis event focused on Parkinson’s athletes because it will help to raise more awareness as table tennis being a healthy sport that Parkinson’s sufferers can play to help them stay physically active, which is very important to help prevent Parkinson’s symptoms from possibly worsening," says Kumar, who has noted vast improvements in his Parkinson's symptoms since taking up the sport.
Having the event on home ground in the USA is a testament to the hard work and initiative of the Westchester Table Tennis Center, which itself runs programs for those suffering from Parkinson's Disease, and is constantly innovating and bringing new things to the table tennis scene to help include more players and provide for members from all walks of life.
"It means a lot to me that it’s here on our home turf as more of my friends can come cheer me on in person, and just the convenience of having it close by in our country is nice, though I am looking forward to competing at these events in the future if they are held in other countries too," Kumar notes.
No doubt the master of positivity, who has come through many trials and challenges in his life, will be adding this event to his list as he prepares to put his best foot forward come October.
When asked about his preparations, Navin Kumar had this to say:
"Training and staying positive are my main preparations that I consider special. I have had a difficult journey so far in having to undergo heart ablation surgery 2 months back due to atrial fibrillation, but like everything else in life, the tough times make me STRONGER and more positive since life will knock me down hard, but I choose to pick myself back up with a SMILE and come back stronger."
"My goals for the event are to show the world that we can’t let Parkinson’s or other medical or non-medical struggles stop us from achieving our dreams in life and it all starts with having a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. While I hope to win the gold medals in both singles and doubles events for the USA, I realize that ALL THE PARTICIPANTS, including me, are already gold medalists because we will continue to fight our Parkinson’s Disease with table tennis and a positive attitude and hopefully inspire more people worldwide to take up table tennis for the health benefits it offers."
Encouraging words from Kumar to all those suffering from Parkinson's Disease to pick up a racket and start practicing. Participation is the winning formula, and no doubt this world-first Parkinson's World Championships will be a success this October and hopefully many years to come.
We applaud Mr Will Shortz, Mr Nenad Bach and the ITTF Foundation for organizing this premier event. You can find more information and links for the event here:
- Inaugural ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships