I was always active growing up. I started playing table tennis at the age of eight and competed for years. At 13 I found I had diabetes. It was something I really struggled with at first. The knowledge was so different back then. We didn’t know as much and it wasn’t as easy to monitor your blood sugar. Medicine is far more advanced now.
I carried on playing table tennis for the next 3 years, but at 17 I was ready to stop. When you have been playing from such a young age you get to a point when you are ready for something new.
I still played a bit up until my thirties. I helped coach others too. One lad I coached from the age of eight, the same as me. Having diabetes really affected my playing to start with but when I started playing at a less competitive level it was easier.
Eventually, I realised I had done everything I could do with the sport. I didn’t enjoy it the same anymore. I then didn’t play for years. Then at 60, I got into Facebook and reconnected with old table tennis friends. They all asked if I still played and after a bottle of wine it got me thinking, why not ? I got back into it, playing for England in the over 60s category at the Six Nations.
It was good, but I started to get a lot of injuries. I was trying to play how I did when I was 16 and you just can’t. You have to adapt your playing when you’re older, but I found it hard. I decided to retire again at 63.