The Federation of Irish Sport announced yesterday the launch of the 2023 Volunteers in Sports Awards, a highly anticipated event set to recognise the unsung heroes who breathe life into sports in every corner of the county. Supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships these dedicated volunteers are the backbone of sporting communities, and its time to celebrate their unwavering commitment.
The 2023 awards will culminate in a spectacular in-person awards ceremony, scheduled to take place on Thursday 29th February 2024.
Nominations close Monday 18th December 2023. The nominations received will be meticulously shortlisted and thoughtfully considered by the judging panel. The prestigious event will see 32 county awards presented and one exceptional individual will be crowned with the converted Outstanding Volunteer Award.
If you feel that someone has shown outstanding hard work towards table tennis in their club and/or in their sport, please nominate them.
Nomination for the awards are now open, and you can submit your entries at the dedicated awards website: www.volunteersinsport.ie.
Tommy Caffrey, the most famous and the most capped Irish Table Tennis player of all time was surprised when he walked into his club in Balbriggan for what he thought was a regular league match. There to greet Tommy and to celebrate his 80th Birthday was a large crowd of club members, old and new table tennis friends, family, politicians, and dignitaries, including the President of Table Tennis Ireland, Patricia Hunter. Tommy was warmly greeted with handshakes and hugs. In fact, it took quite a while for proceedings to get under way, but this was not a night to rush things. Rather than a party, the members and family had decided that an event focussing on Tommy and his table tennis career would be best, and what an enjoyable evening it turned out to be. It was a night of warm speeches, great table tennis and some very welcome refreshments. It was also the night that Tommy Caffrey was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Table Tennis Ireland, an honour which was very well deserved, especially after 151 senior caps and large number of veterans caps. It appears that Tommy is the most capped individual in Ireland in any sport. Quite the achievement.
John Keogh, on behalf of Balbriggan Table Tennis Club, opened proceedings by welcoming those in attendance and discussing Tommy’s stellar career and his valued membership of the club where is held in such high regard. Perhaps the highlight of the night was a video call from TTI’s Life President and a great friend of Tommy’s, Joe Veselsky. While the audience listened in, Joe recalled some of Tommy’s career and sent his best wishes.
Then it fell to Pat Hunter to present the Honorary Life Membership award to Tommy. Pat recalled her first meeting with Tommy in 1964 when he coached her in Butlins Mosney, where she won a free week and the ‘most improved girl’ award. From that Pat took the audience down memory lane, as she recalled Tommy’s career and various famous games he played. There were many in the hall that also recalled those events. Tommy seemed to be able to remember every player and every score including two Irish Open titles (the first in Balbriggan in 1963) and various international matches against the best in Europe and the World at which he was, more often than not, victorious. However, the victory Tommy values most is when he and his son Colin won the men’s senior doubles at the Munster Open in Cork, beating Kevin Keane and Owen Molloy in the final. The Caffreys were not the favourites to win that day, but the tactics were for Colin to do the attacking while Tommy controlled the flow of the game. And the plan worked. Tommy mentioned that, inspired by Joe Veselsky, who will be 105 in October, he has no intention of retiring and will continue playing table tennis.
As if to prove the point, Tommy played four exhibition matches, singles and doubles including against Pat McCloughan, Board member of TTI and Balbriggan club member. The games officiated over by Dave Cunningham resulted in an honourable draw. It was lovely to see a score of young players, club juniors, watching the games and soaking up the atmosphere, and quite a bit of the cake too!
Two local politicians, Cllr Grainne Maguire, Deputy Mayor of Fingal and Cllr Tony Murphy both reflected on Tommy’s contribution to the sport but also to the locality, Balbriggan, Stamullen and Gormanstown, where he is well known.
Tommy’s daughter Denise rounded off the evening by thanking, on behalf of the Caffrey Family, all those who had organised the event and all those who had attended. Certainly, a night to be remembered. Table Tennis Ireland would like to thank the members of Balbriggan Table Tennis Club for their hospitality on the evening, their kind invitation to attend and for facilitating Tommy’s award.
The Awards will be presented at the AGM on Saturday 10th of June 2023
Table Tennis Ireland invites nominations under its Awards Scheme for the 2022/2023 season. Nominations for all the Award categories must be received on the specified form by Monday 1st of May 2022.Applications can be emailed firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Ajinkya Sawant, Table Tennis Ireland, Irish Sports HQ, Sport Ireland Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, D15 DY62.
Please note that there will be two awards made within the Junior Player of the Year category.
Please click HERE for the Nomination Form, please click HERE for the Criteria for the Awards Scheme
The Federation of Irish Sport hosts the Volunteers in Sport Awards as a unique celebration to honour and recognise individuals who are part of the wider volunteering community involved in sport. Nominations are now open at www.volunteersinsport.ie.
The 2022 awards will be celebrated in the Greater Dublin Area at the beginning of March 2023. Entries will close on the 8th of February 2023. Nominations received will be shortlisted and put forward for consideration by the Judging Panel. Winners are chosen on a county basis, with 32 award recipients and one overall Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Volunteers are the cornerstone of table tennis clubs and communities across Ireland. Unpaid, they give freely of their time, energy and are dedicated to the development of table tennis. Without them sports clubs would not exist.
Complete the entry form to celebrate the volunteer you admire most. There will be 32 county winners decided and an overall award for Outstanding Achievement. Each county winner will receive a commemorative prize. Nominate now: https://volunteersinsport.ie/make-a-nomination/
The Association’s Awards Committee of Tony Martin, Patricia Hunter, Tara Fusco and Kenneth Strong recently considered the nominations received for the 2021/2022 National Awards.
The Award recipients were announced and presented by the President, Tony Martin at the Annual General Meeting on the 11th of June 2022, in the Conference Room at the Irish Sports HQ.
Principal among the Awards is the Joe Veselsky Award which is presented each season, in recognition of endeavour and achievement in administration, to a person over the age of 35 years, and who has served a minimum of 5 years.
The recipient of this season’s award was Derek Weir, who took over running the Belfast & District League in 1987 and served for over 30 years before retiring in 2018. This was the largest league in Ulster which in its heyday had more than 12 divisions. One of the challenges which Derek faced at a difficult time in Belfast was to reverse the decline that had seen the League reduced to 3 divisions. By the end of his tenure Derek had seen the league rejuvenated to 5 strong divisions.
Derek organized all the cup competitions associated with the league including singles competitions and an annual challenge match versus the Leinster League. As a player Derek was very successful playing several times for Ulster and Ireland.
The Senior Male Player of the Year has been awarded to end of season Irish No. 1, Alexander Gillen who won the majority of senior open events of the season.
Other Awards decided are:
Junior Male Player of the Year: James Skelton
Junior Female Player of the Year: Anjali Singh
Para Award: John Dempsey
Junior Coach of the Year: Conor Mullally
Club of the Year: Loop Table Tennis Club
School of the Year:St. Ronan’s N.S
Certificate of Merit to Strathearn Grammar School, Belfast
International Performance of the Year: Sophie Earley
Special Award for Investigative Journalism 2022:Norman Nabney – for his work on articles about Karen Walker(Senior), Jim Langan and Ping Pong Diplomacy
Eoin Kelly was also presented with his Volunteer of the Year Award 2020/21 which had not been presented due to the Covid pandemic.
The end of Season Underage Irish No.1’s were also announced at the AGM and presented as follows:
Irish No. 1 – Under 19 Boys 2021/22: James Skelton
Irish No.1 – Under 15 Boys 2021/22: Vincent Ni
Irish No. 1 – Under 13 Boys 2021/22: Peadar Sheridan
Irish No. 1 – Under 19 Girls 2021/22: Anjali Singh
Table Tennis Ireland invites nominations under its Awards Scheme for the 2021/2022 season. Nominations for all the Award categories must be received on the specified form by Monday 2nd of May 2022 at 5pm. Applications can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to Irish Sports HQ, Sport Ireland Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, D15 DY62.
Please note that there will be two awards made within the Junior Player of the Year category.
Please click HERE for the Nomination Form and please click HEREfor the Criteria for the Awards Scheme.
Should you have any queries on the Awards Scheme, please contact by email or by phone at +353 1 6251135.
Sophie Earley is pictured above receiving an International High Achievement Award from Lady Mary Peters and Kenneth Strong, Table Tennis Ireland Director. She received the award for her superb international results, being the first Irish player ever to medal at the European Youth Championship, and for her continuing success at International World Table Tennis events.
Sophie travels on Friday (3rd December) with coach Conn Higgins to the World Youth Table Tennis Championships in Portugal, having received full support from Table Tennis Ireland and Table Tennis Ulster. Sophie said “I want to thank everyone who has given me support along my journey so far – whether financial, coaching, or in other ways. It was also great to receive recent awards from the Mary Peters Trust and the European Table Tennis Union”.
Sophie won the Women’s Singles at last weekend’s Ulster Open played in Lisburn – getting a good send-off for her task ahead in Portugal. The Men’s Singles winner was He Zhiwen, a former World Team Event Champion and 4 times Olympian.
The Federation of Irish Sport created the Volunteer in Sport awards to ensure the Sport’s Volunteer is recognised and celebrated on a national scale. The Federation are delighted to partner with EBS to recognise the dedication and passion of these volunteers by heroing them at an awards ceremony.
Nominations are open to all members of the public and the award ceremony is due to take place virtually in December 2021.
To nominate an everyday hero, and to be in with the chance of winning €1,000 for your local sports club, simply visit www.volunteersinsport.ie. Nominations can be made by a club, individual or sporting body and are open from September 7th 2021, to October 17th 2021.
On Tuesday the 6th of April we at Table Tennis Ireland celebrated World Table Tennis Day. We hosted an online live session with 2 of our female players and coaches. We hosted the event in conjunction with the ITTF Foundation #FEMpowerment movement.
Our inspiring hosts showcased many skills and tricks to those that attended and brought them through a live Table Tennis session. As one of the ITTF Foundation promoters for World Table Tennis Day our event was a huge success, and we had a record number of approximately 50 attendees who joined in on the session.
We would like to thank Craigavon for their help and support in allowing us to have access to their venue to host our event. In addition, thanks to Joe Colvin who provided all necessary support to ensure that we hosted a successful live session.
Throughout the day many of our female members set skill challenges for everyone to try out. Many participants have also entered in various skill competitions to win some cool prizes.
We would like to express our gratitude to our female members who helped us promote and run our event. They have inspired many women to participate in sport. A special thank you to Rachael Scott, Rebecca Finn, Erin Thompson, Claire Heller, Mia O’Rahilly Egan, Nicole Scott, Amanda Taylor, Rachel Taylor, Lucy Johnston, Lucy Craig, Thuy Linh Cashman, Tara Fusco and Sophie Earley. Their participation ensured the success of our event and helped spread awareness and visibility of Women in Sport within the table tennis community.
Check out our video below, the highlights of how we celebrated World Table Tennis Day.
World Table Tennis Day Skills Competition
We wish to thank everyone who took part in our World Table Tennis Day skills competition. We had many great entries but there could only be a few winners! We wish to announce our winners of the skill competitions:
Overall Female Winner – Emily Kidd
Joint Overall Male Winner – Boris Bonchev
Joint Overall Male Winner – Stefan Bonchev
Coach Rebecca’s Choice – Eimear Hutchinson
Coach Rachael’s Choice – Ciara Hutchinson
Best short touch Challenge – Rachel Taylor
Best Keep-Up Challenge – Amanda Taylor
Best Accuracy Challenge – Sophia Cogan
Best Creative Entry – Emma Rowe
Best Side Edge Challenge – Dilyara Boncheva
Congratulations to all of our winners!
We had a very successful and enjoyable World Table Tennis Day as one of the promoters for the ITTF initiative for #FEMpowerment. We can’t wait for next year’s World Table Tennis Day.
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