Table tennis excellent Desmond Douglas features in our Concealed Figures online series, bringing to our lives the stories of under-the-radar having pioneers throughout Black History 30 days
Last Updated: 13/10/20 6: 31am
Arriving in England from Jamaica within the early sixties, table tennis was the furthermost thing from the mind of a bright-eyed, five-year-old Desmond Douglas.
His family would settle within Handsworth in Birmingham and it had been just before his teenage years that will Douglas first picked up a ping pong bat at Birmingham’s Aston Recreation area Play Centre.
He or she only played more table tennis in order to rained at lunchtimes and he had been unable to play football or cricket. Douglas and his schoolmates would piece together desks, chairs and blackboards, plus jockey for space to huddle around the table.
Which is how Douglas, who would go on to get an 11-time English champion, used his lightning reflexes to develop a method of playing close to the table. That will unorthodox style of taking the ball earlier stayed with him throughout his profession.
Douglas started playing competitively with 15, and by 18 he had increased to the top of the national junior search positions, also claiming his first Western junior title.
Within 1976 he won a thoroughly clean sweep of singles, doubles plus mixed doubles titles at the The english language National Championships before an psychological Rothmans International win in Jamaica the following year.
Searching for it difficult to make a living from the sport in England, Douglas pursued a life-changing opportunity in Germany in 1977, joining Borussia Dusseldorf, who performed in the country’s professional Bundesliga.
After winning English plus Welsh Open titles in 1978, Douglas took bronze at the Western Championships and rose to amount seven in the world rankings.
He won a number of titles in Germany before time for England in 1985, two years prior to he was honoured with an MBE for his contribution to sports activity.
Douglas still recently had an Olympic adventure to come as ping pong made its debut at the Seoul Games in 1988. He performed in the singles and earned the ninth-placed finish in the doubles in which he partnered Skylet Andrew, who would later on become Britain’s first black soccer agent.
Douglas outdated in 1989 but made the comeback a few years later and continuing to play competitively well into their forties. He remains a tremendous gamer by all accounts and now instructors table tennis hopefuls who form element of Britain’s Youth Development Squad.