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York table tennis youngster is a picture of progress in new sport
10:49am Tuesday 10th April 2012 in Table tennis
A York boy with autism and learning difficulties has been chosen as one of the faces for an English Federation of Disability Sport poster campaign which will look to raise awareness for the cause, writes Samuel Burton.
During the event Robinson displayed a fondness for table tennis and subsequently picked up a racket and played.
English Table Tennis Association coach Shaun Alvey then wrote to the youngster and his mum, Sue, offering to coach him due to the potential he had shown.
Said a delighted Sue Robinson: “Shaun took Ben on and has been brilliant with him. He’s currently training twice a week and we’re looking at the possibility of him being able to train for a whole day, which the school have been really supportive of.”
The teenager is now part of the Yorkshire Disability table tennis squad, which has been sponsored by the Jorvik Hotel in York.
The partnership between the two aims to promote the awareness of disability within the sport.
Having only taken up the sport in October last year, Ben has gone from strength to strength, boosted by a meeting with players from Team GB in Sheffield.
Sue added: “Ben’s disability has been very hard throughout his life.
“Hand-eye co-ordination has been a frequent issue. In the past, Ben has struggled judging the curb on the pavement so to have him do so well in something like this and so quickly is excellent.
“The aim is for Ben to continue to train in tournaments with the ultimate hope being to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games.”
Table tennis is one of the returning events for the London Olympics this summer.
Learning disabilities have been a controversial topic within the world of sport and competitors were banned for both the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004 as well as Beijing in 2008.
But the intellectual disability ban over autism has made Robinson a case study for the English Federation of Disability Sport, ending with the youngster becoming a face for a nationwide poster campaign to raise awareness.