A TYNEDALE table tennis player’s hopes of attending the world championships were dashed earlier this year due to the coronavirus crisis.

Mark O’Connor, who runs the Prudhoe United Services Table Tennis Club, was due to travel to Bordeaux to take part in the event last month.

Attracting 5,500 competitors from around the world, the competition is held specifically for male and females over the age of 40 and includes nine different age groups, including an over 90s category.

“It was going to be a great experience for us to go out and play,” Mark said. He was due to travel alongside fellow player Maurice Cheek, but the sport has been closed down since the first week of March.

The pair both earned a place at the competition after a successful application process.

Mark explained: “We would not have been going to get a medal, but more for the whole experience.

“The World Championships is the pinnacle of table tennis at my age and something I have always wanted to do. But I have already been pre-selected for next year and hope it will be able to go ahead.”

Table Tennis England, the sports governing body, said it was disappointed by the Government’s announcement about the resumption of sport, and that it included inconsistencies into what facilities will or will not reopen.

And while the Prudhoe Unites Services’ host venue of the Legion Centre remains closed, Mark has been training on his table at home.

“It has been four months since I last played,” he said. "There are no facilities open for us to be able to play.

“We did not get to finish the the winter league and we are probably not going to get the summer league in time.

“I think table tennis will be one of the last sports to come back.”

However, Table Tennis England said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the general positive steps being taken by the Government.

A statement read: “We understand that the lack of clarity around the current information is extremely challenging for clubs to plan ahead, but rest assured we are in constant contact with Sport England, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and other National Governing Bodies, who are working on behalf of all sports to seek clarification from the Government.”