Ping Pong Tables Ping Up Across London

Earlier this year it was elephants that Londoners woke up to share the sidewalks with. Into the summer and now it seems to be sporadic games of table tennis that are taking place in London’s public spaces.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been seen challenging traders and shoppers at Bermondsey Antiques Market while two competitive bobbies and even a clergyman picked up the bat for a knock around.

The project by Ping! is a three-year project to opportunities for the public to participate in table tennis free of charge. The project aims to get a million more people playing sports in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics.

So far, 100 ping-pong tables have popped up (or should that be pinged up?) across London’s landmarks, squares, shopping centers, estates, offices and train stations—from Soho Square to Westfield Shopping Centre, Tate Britain to the British Library, St Pancras International and even Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

Marked ‘Stop and Play’, the tables are up for four weeks for all to enjoy. Bats and balls are supplied: to join in the fun just borrow a bat from the side of the table.

London mayor Boris Johnson is helping to promote the campaign after claiming at Beijing 2008 that ping pong was invented in Victorian Britain, originally called ‘whiff whaff’. ‘The French looked at a dining table and saw an opportunity to have dinner,” he said at the time. “We looked at a dining table and saw an opportunity to play whiff-whaff.”

Set to become the new sporting craze, concrete ping pong tables have already been appearing in parks across the UK.  Now in London, it seems a quick game of ping-pong en-route to work or over a lunchtime sandwich is al it takes to put a smile on the face of Londoners.

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