Leeds table tennis aces strike gold at veterans’ national championships

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Armley Leisure Centre coach Sandra Rider has collected two gold medals at the Home Nations Veterans’ Table Tennis Championships.

Rider, who has previously won European veteran gold in 2013, and a bronze at last year’s World Championships in Las Vegas, took home the top prize for England in both the over-60s team event and the over-60s women’s doubles.

The tournament was held in Perth, Scotland, and saw seven nations from the British Isles face off, with age categories ranging from 40-plus to 75-and-over.

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A “delighted” Rider was not the only Leeds winner in the contest.

Mick Burton, who plays at the Armley Leisure Centre under Rider’s watchful eye, was called up to the England squad as a last-minute replacement.

To his great surprise, he returned to Leeds with a men’s over-75 team gold, and silver in the doubles.

Rider, who has been coaching at the centre for “a long time”, says it’s never too late to pick up a bat and start playing the sport she loves.

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“We have three sessions a week at Armley, and we’ve got 10 tables.

“I had a lady start this week who’s 81! She had a private lesson with me.”

If you’re interested in attending a session at Armley Leisure Centre, you can email Sandra Rider on [email protected]