Around one month ago, the government refused to carry out a two-week circuit breaker lock-down and somewhat unsurprisingly, the government has now opted to send the whole nation into a second complete lock-down. Yet again, it is the local people paying the price.

Over 50s national champion and coach at Cleeve Park TTC, Chris Bartram spoke to me about problems of this second lockdown: such a lack of training for up and coming players, mental health, as well as various other issues.

“My biggest concern is that it negatively affects some of the members’ mental health, especially some of the older ones that have limited contacts especially if retired.”

He also discussed about how players such as Ryan  (Farthing - ranked 83rd for Junior boys), who had been trying to improve their England rankings “have been stopped from doing that and playing competitions,” and how there are “some players that will not come back after such a long break.”

Table Tennis England themselves are “very reliant on the government,” however “at the start they were not clear of the rules with some inconsistencies.”

In terms of whether or not he felt the restrictions were appropriate:

“I myself was very disappointed that we had to close for a second time as I felt we had very good safety-first systems in place to keep members safe. But as soon as … there was no indoor sport then the school had no choice but to close.”

It is evident from this that the government cannot afford continued lockdowns due to the detrimental impacts on local people across the country.

By Arjun Thakar, Saint Olaves Grammar School