ping pong paddle and ball

The Oldest Ping Pong Player in the World

Ping pong is generally the trademark name for the game table tennis, also known as whiff-whaff. The term varies based on origin, but they all mean the same. The game is played by two or four players who stand on separate sides of a ping pong table. A ping pong ball is passed along the table, across a net in the middle, using small rackets. The game comes with a defined set of rules and has been enjoyed indoors and played professionally since the 1880s.

Although ping pong has become a hobby or passion for many people through time, but have you ever heard of someone who has been playing it after the age of 100? Well, there is someone like that to exist. In this article, we will be commemorating the oldest ping pong player globally, Dorothy De Low.

Dorothy De Low – The Oldest Ping Pong Player

Dorothy De Low was born in 1910, in England, but moved to Hurtsville, Australia when she was two. Mrs. De Low once said in an interview that she came to Australia in the same year the Titanic went down, i.e., 1912, and she could have been on that ship.

She started playing ping pong the age of 50 and soon became one of the most iconic players in the game. Dorothy joined a club and practiced there; she was committed and had a never-ending passion for ping pong. She was always seen playing in championships full of zeal and energy. Many players looked up to her and mentioned how she influenced them.

Dorothy was a very experienced ping pong player. She won the Baltimore Worlds over-80s title in 1992, followed by the over-80s singles in Melbourne Worlds in 1994. She continued to take part in every world tournament since then. Dorothy also went to New Zealand every year to play the nationals at Easter.

World’s Senior Champion

Dorothy De Low participated in the World Veterans Table Tennis Championships in 1990 and became the World’s Senior Champion in 1992, and her passion and full of life spirit for ping pong remained unfazed even after the ripe age of 100. Dorothy was also the oldest volunteer at the 2004 Sydney Olympic Games and even managed to get a Guinness World Record for the oldest athlete.

In 2006, she was challenged to a game by the host of radio station Nova FM. She won the game and became a huge media sensation at the age of 95. Dorothy’s energy and longevity were proof that engaging in healthy activities like sports keeps you on the go at any age. She was also a member of the above-70-year-old women’s table tennis team, which frequently participated in competitions.

Moreover, Dorothy also took part in the 15th World Veterans Table Tennis Championships in Hohhot, China, in 2010. She was the oldest player in this tournament, and among 2000 athletes, she caught the most attention because of her tremendous skills, rather than her age. Dorothy performed outstandingly and was seen returning balls with tricky angles.

All her opponents were almost 84 years old, but this tournament highlighted Dorothy. Dorothy’s words after she was eliminated from the tournament were, “I think it’s wonderful, making a lot of friends,” and after the event, fans took pictures with her and asked her for autographs, she said, “I feel like a film star!” It was after this championship that her skills gained worldwide recognition, and she was known as the great grandmother of Hurtsville.

After the competition, Mrs. De Low was invited to the David Letterman Show in New York, but she denied the appearance saying she wanted to go back to her garden.  She also took part in numerous tournaments and championships and won various medals. It was because of her that an over-80s championship category was ever created.

Mrs. De Low continuously played ping pong every Thursday night at Kogarah RSL Table Tennis Club. She even celebrated her 103rdbirthday at the same club. It was delightful to see how much joy she got from playing ping pong. She was both zealous and ambitious about ping pong. She also had a wonderful sense of humor, and despite being old and petite, she always insisted on carrying her luggage. Dorothy has a lot of fans all around the globe.

Dorothy Laid to Rest

She passed away in 2014 at the age of 103. At that time, many of her relatives mentioned how she always vowed to play ping pong, and she did that. On account of her death, her 71-year-old son Peter mentioned that“She had a very good life and had done particularly well living on her own for so many years.”

‘‘She enjoyed particularly good health up until November. We will miss her. She was with us for such a long time. She was always going out and drove until she was 100. This made it more difficult, but she still got out a lot.” Peter’s words prove that just like Dorothy if you have a passion for the things you like, age is merely a number.

Dorothy is such an inspiring figure to not only the world of table tennis but other sports as well. She has proven to the world that ping pong is more than an indoor game; it is a sport for health and life. Dorothy has left room for no exceptions. She always mentioned how ping pong kept her healthy, and without a doubt, she has manifested that ping pong can be played by anyone, whether young or old; abled or disabled, it is for everyone.

In short, we should all celebrate the type of human Dorothy De Low was. Being the world’s oldest ping pong player, she has showcased her lifelong love for the game throughout her life. Dorothy is the perfect example of people who follow their dreams. Gordon Lee also sang a song named Queen of the Tables, inspired by her. May we all find things we are ardent about, and get to work with them for the rest of our lives – just like Dorothy.