‘To live long — play ping pong’: Couple celebrates love of table tennis with Australia Day honours

‘To live long — play ping pong’: Couple celebrates love of table tennis with Australia Day honours
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“To live long — play ping pong”.

It is a catchy motto, Joy and Tom Boyd hold very dear.

For decades, this dynamic pair of table tennis players have promoted the sport, and now both have an Australia Day honour in recognition of their work.

The couple has been awarded Medals of the Order of Australia for their service to table tennis.

News of the awards led to spirited rallies at the Kiama Table Tennis Club on Australia Day.

, ‘To live long — play ping pong’: Couple celebrates love of table tennis with Australia Day honours,
Kiama Table Tennis Club members are buoyed by Tom and Joy Boyd receiving Australia Day honours.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

As paddles flew and bouncing balls created a high-speed cacophony across five tables, members cheered the couple.

Between matches, Mrs Boyd spoke to the ABC and said the honour would be good for the sport.

From her wheelchair, Mrs Boyd displayed skill and speed with her serve, backhand, and volley.

, ‘To live long — play ping pong’: Couple celebrates love of table tennis with Australia Day honours,
Joy Boyd says she has had many opportunities in table tennis even after her legs stopped working.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

“I am playing alright considering all the excitement,” she said.

Mrs Boyd has played since she was a teenager.
After a leg operation in 1998, she needed to use a wheelchair, but her love of the game has continued.

She won a bronze medal for table tennis for wheelchair athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

“Who would have thought once my legs stopped working that I would have these opportunities, so it has been wonderful,” Mrs Boyd said.

Tom Boyd has played table tennis all his life but only began to make his mark once he hit his 50s.

He helped to establish the Australian Veteran Championships and went on to win 10 gold medals.

“It’s an honour to be nominated and receive the award.”

, ‘To live long — play ping pong’: Couple celebrates love of table tennis with Australia Day honours,
Tom and Joy Boyd have helped establish the Kiama Table Tennis Club.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

The couple helped found the Kiama Table Tennis club, which boasts a growing member base of more than 70 people, most over the age of 70.

Heartened by the Boyd’s success, club members say they intend on pursuing the Kiama Council to help them find a bigger venue.

“It’s getting the oldies out to have a hit, exercise and improve their abilities to play,” Mrs Boyd said.

“And they improve — after a short time they are getting a lot of shots back.”



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