Former TTASL President Lalith Priyantha says the science fiction writer believed there was a connection between the racket sport played with the ping pong ball and brain
Former President of the Table Tennis Association of Sri Lanka and national champion Lalith Priyantha has fond memories of playing table tennis with British Science writer, Science fiction writer, inventor and television series host Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
Priyantha remembers playing table tennis with Clarke, who often spoke to him about the wonders of the brain. “Clarke was an intelligent man and like most intelligent men took to table tennis. I think he fancied one of the requirements in table tennis which is quick thinking. We used to often meet up at Otter Aquatic Club to play table tennis,” reminisced Priyantha, who was a sensation at this time of his life being the national champion and the highest ranked Sri Lankan player (World ranking 238).
We live in an era where many top level table tennis players quit the sport for brief periods during exams. “Clarke didn’t like this. He believed that playing table tennis sharpened the brain and honed a player’s ability to take quick decisions. He always questioned any move taken by a human which derived an opportunity for the brain to work at an optimum level. He encouraged students to continue playing table tennis along with studies,” said Priyantha.
Priyantha said that he was greatly influenced by what the science fiction writer told him. The former national champion told Nation that he is mentally sharp even at present because he contests the annual Veterans’ Table Tennis Tournament and also plays with his students.
Priyantha, a professional coach at present, recommends table tennis for people of all age groups because he said that the wear and tear that sets in when playing with the ping pong ball and racket are at its minimum compared to other racket sports.