HISTORY OF THE VETERAN ENGLISH TABLE TENNIS SOCIETY (V.E.T.T.S.)
In 1982 members of the Swedish T. T. A. led by Hans Westling, instigated the first 'unofficial' World Veterans T.T. Championships. This incorporated events for over 40s, over 50s, over 60s and over 70s. It is recorded that 46 English players played in Gothenburg capturing 2 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals. It was also agreed that the World Championships would be continued every two years in a different country. The players who attended the first tournament enjoyed the camaraderie and atmosphere so much that it made them think of the many older players in the UK who would enjoy such friendship and competition. At that time this was only being catered for by the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) incorporating an over 40s event in the normal tournament competitions, which also ran events for those under 17 years of age (ie. Cadets and Juniors). The older part of the age spectrum was open ended and only covered by the Senior events, duly entered by the cream of English Table Tennis.
In 1983 Mike Watts, who later became VETTS President until his untimely death in 2001, produced an article called "The 'VETERAN' Scene" in which he set out ideas for discussion on table tennis for the older player, which was sent round to interested parties. Over 150 players responded positively to the article. The inaugural meeting of the Society was held on 15 January 1984 with 35 attendees and 20 apologies. The first committee was formed with Secretary: Mike Watts, Chairman: Derek Schofield, and Treasurer: Bill Moran. The initial terms of reference and objectives were as follows, and are still adhered to.
To form an Association for Veteran Players of all standards with the object of promoting friendship and competition amongst players throughout the country.
- To promote and organise the following championships each season – National Championships involving over 40, over 50, over 60 and over 70 events Regional Championships with similar events covering the whole of the country Other competitions as may be required by the membership and agreed by the committee
- To organise dinner dances at all tournaments
- To promote other social activities
- To endeavour to maintain ranking/rating lists as required
- The Society shall be in Good Standing with the ETTA
The highlight for some members is to participate in the European and World Veterans Championships which, like VETTS, has grown considerably in recent years. VETTS members have played in Championships around the world including Gothenburg, Helsinki, Rimini, Zagreb, Baltimore, Dublin, Melbourne, Lillehammer, Manchester, Vancouver, Lucerne, Yokohama, Bremen, Rio de Janerio, Hohhot, Stockholm, Aukland, Vienna, Prague, Aarhus, Courmayeur, Bratislava, Rotterdam, Porec ,Liberec and Tampere.
In both the World and European Veterans championships, age groups have been expanded and now range from a beginning of over 40s to over 80s, to latterly bringing in over 65s, over 75s and over 85s.
Friendships are fostered on a global scale these days with VETTS members not only attending the World and European championships but many other Veterans events worldwide. Many old friends from previous tournaments are met and the camaraderie spreads on a worldwide basis.
The spread of the Veterans game across the world has been so successful that an International Veterans Table Tennis Society (IVTTS) was formed in 2001 with the VETTS being one of the founder members. This Society will increase the links between Veteran players and friends around the world.
The ITTF now recognise the expansion of the Veterans game and have set up a Working Party Committee for Veterans with regional representation.
Membership is £15 a year and includes information about the tournaments and preferential entry to all VETTS events; up to six newsletters a year; ranking lists by age category; a diary and access to news and information through out website and Facebook community.
If you are aged 40 or over and would like to join the action please contact either the Val Murdoch, Membership Secretary for more information or see here for the membership form: VETTS Application Form