At the end of July I got a call out of the blue. Could I come to Limerick to organise the World Medical Games at University of Limerick for four day and could I be there tomorrow! Strangely enough I did have 4 free days. Some years ago I had organised the World Corporate Games and that had been tough but good fun, so rarely turning down an opportunity I agreed and found myself in Limerick the following day at the main desk sorting out the draw. It wasn’t too exacting as it ended up being 5 groups of players divided by age and gender.
As is the nature of these things there were a few problems like only being given 1 Star balls, no score cards and many of the competitors not speaking English. But we struggled through and by the end of the day 4 of the 5 groups were completed. There were some problems with the final group as the players decided they knew better and wanted to do a round robin event with 7 players. As expected it didn’t finish on time and the last few matches had to be postponed to the following event day. Thankfully the balls situation was resolved and I had thought to bring up a number of scorecards up from the club, just in case.
The standard of play was pretty good and there were a number of different countries represented. The Republic of Iran had 5 competitors and they were very competitive! South Korea, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Italy, Austria, United Kingdom, Turkey, Hungary and Germany all had players. This event is designed for anyone in the medical profession from surgeons to hospital porters and there was a good atmosphere and plenty of drama.
We also had a doubles event and an open singles event which saw a couple of excellent semi finals as well as the final itself. To me the results were unimportant but you can check them out at the World Medical Games website if you want. What was significant was that there was a competitive table tennis event that brought a good number of table tennis enthusiasts to Ireland. It was a shame that there were no Irish competitors but I for one had never heard of the World Medical Games until that phone call late on Monday night.
Limerick University is a great place to spend a few days and I appear to be a regular visitor with either Special Olympics or through coach education courses. The accommodation is comfortable and the food excellent and I did enjoy being away for a few days. I was also able to catch up with an old friend Tom Mitchell at the event and even took in a meeting with Limerick Sports Partnership as part of my new role as Munster Participation Director.
Interesting for me was that the Limerick LSP development officer was another old acquaintance who had been a tutor on a course I took a few years ago. Ireland is a small country and making connections in the world of sport doesn’t seem that difficult, so I hope it was a productive meeting and we might see more interest in Limerick table tennis.