New Delhi, July 4: Steve Rowe, who hails from Wigan, England, is the head coach of Wigan Table Tennis Club and founder of The Aerobic Table Tennis project.
The project was initiated in his hometown back in 2010, with the aim to rope in more youngsters into the sport through rhythmic exercise sessions which utilise table tennis moves.
Rowe has been involved with table tennis for almost four-and-a-half decades, first as a player and later as a coach.
In 2010, Rowe founded the worldwide fitness programme called Aerobic Table Tennis and currently he plans to enter the Indian market.
It is a fitness programme for both children and adults. The sessions include table tennis movement to music.
"In the last 10 years, over one hundred thousand children and adults have been engaged in Aerobic TT. Countries who've been covered under the programme include England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Malta, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Portugal and Canada to name a few.
"Now, we're planning a complete re-launch of the programme to make it more accessible to countries around the world. We would specifically like to enter the fitness market in India," said Rowe.
"We would like Aerobic TT to be used as part of the Fit India programme. It's also being used as a fitness programme to help people living with Parkinson's disease, Dementia and Alzheimer's," added Rowe who has tied up with renowned music composer Nenad Bach in his endeavour.
"With Steve (Rowe), I'm looking forward to creating an aerobic exercise, specifically designed for people with Parkinson as a warm-up for the Ping-Pong Parkinson programme," Bach told myKhel.com.
In an exclusive chat with Vishal Sharma, Rowe opened about his sporting journey.
Q) Could you tell us about your sporting journey so far..
A) As a child I was a good athlete and footballer. I remember as a 12-year-old, taking part in an athletics meeting where I competed in seven different sprint and relay races and winning every event. Honestly, I regret not becoming an athlete. As a youngster I was scouted by two football teams -- Leeds United and Manchester United.
Wigan, my hometown used to have best rugby players in the world. I wasn't that keen on the sport, but my sports teacher at school made me play. I remember playing for my school before a cup final that Wigan were involved in. I scored six tries, because people couldn't catch me.
After that game the officials of Wigan Rugby asked me to sign for them. As it wasn't my favourite sport, I said no. Maybe that's another mistake. As I got older, I started playing table tennis and started to love the sport.
The fact no one would teach me table tennis, made me determined to become a table tennis coach.
Q) Where do you see table tennis in the next one year?
A) I would say that social and recreational table tennis will boom. Table tennis is becoming known as a sport that has so many health benefits. I certainly see table tennis in a years' time, being an important part of physical education in schools and also being run in community centres around the world.
Q) Do you think Ping Pong Literacy can change young table tennis paddlers life?
A) Absolutely. Ping Pong Literacy is a fun programme that children love to take part in. They're learning academics and an Olympic sport. Children will understand the importance of staying fit.
Q) Who is your inspiration and why?
A) Actually, my inspiration is children. Having worked with children for the last 30 years, I know we can learn a lot from them. They're very inspiring in a way that they'll will do whatever you ask them too, trying their best to succeed.
Q) What motivates you around you the most?
A) What motivates me is knowing that I've a fitness programme that can help so many people. Children, adults, elders and disabled people. Knowing this gives me the motivation to keep improving Aerobic TT.
Q) What makes you proud of Aerobic TT?
A) Over the last 10 years, I've engaged over eighty thousand children and adults, in Aerobic TT sessions. That has to be a testament that the programme is a success.
Q) How was the experience working with table tennis north?
A) Over the many ventures with Aerobic TT that I've been involved, one of my favourite destinations is North West Territories (NWT) in Canada. Thor Gohl invited me to the NWT. We've engaged thousands of children around the NWT and will continue to spread the love of table tennis.
Q) What're the benefits of ping pong physical literacy education?
A) Physical Literacy can help fight childhood obesity. The problem needs to be addressed quickly. Ping Pong Literacy not only addresses this problem, but also helps in learning the importance of staying fit.
Q) What's the vision of the Aerobic Table Tennis project?
A) To enrich and inspire the lives of young people by creating a lifelong love for table tennis and being physically active.
Q) How do you look at the future with this project?
A) The future is looking good. I'm currently re-launching Aerobic TT. I'm still planning the release of Ping Pong Literacy, a programme for children from the age of four. I've also become part of Nenad's (Bach) Ping Pong Parkinson team, which is a project for people living with Parkinson's disease.
Vishal Sharma is a Delhi based sports journalist. An enthusiast who loves to travel and explore things around, Vishal has contributed for several online publications. Some of his hobbies include blogging, singing, research, travelling and meet geeks. He is a Wikipedian too.