PING PONG: Trish Sinkinson has her eye on the ball playing for a place in yesterday's Masters Games table tennis semifinals. PHOTO/BEVAN CONLEY
By Zac Yates
"Why would anyone want to play ping pong?"
That's what Tauranga woman Trish Sinkinson asked her friends when they suggested she come and play table tennis.
But yesterday she was competing in the sport at the Masters Games for the second time.
"At first it just seemed like a silly little game but when you get into it it really grabs you. I'm hooked now," the 71-year-old said.
Unlike many sports the preparation for table tennis is quite minimal.
"I don't have any sort of special warm-up at all, I just get up and go play. Really I come along to enjoy the game and the company. It's the good company that keeps you going, we all have a laugh and a bit of a giggle.
"When we got here Sunday we all had a pot luck lunch. That's the sort of thing we do, it's not just about playing the game, it's more about getting together and enjoying each other's company."
But despite the social aspect Sinkinson is well aware of the effect the medals have on participants.
"I got a silver medal for walking and I was jumping up and down like a kid with a new toy at Christmas. It was like I was on a cloud, I was so happy and so proud of myself. I had to call my kids and tell them.
"I was still buzzing for a couple of days later."
She finished the 2011 Masters Games with the silver medal for walking and two golds in table tennis, and yesterday added to that tally with a bronze in the table tennis doubles.
Her enthusiasm is infectious and she has roped her family into taking part.
"I've got my daughter into it. She wanted to be here and play this week but she couldn't get the time off from work, so hopefully she'll be here next time.
"And my sisters are here from Palmerston to cheer me on, it's like we have our own cheerleading team."