Wiff-waff, ping-pong or simple old table tennis, whatever you call it, you’ll soon be able to play with the old bat and ball in one of Dubai’s many parks.

It has been announced that, starting with Safa Park, tables will be installed in selected parts of the Emirate and will be free to use with the aim to encourage people from all walks to discover – or practice – the sport. 

Al Mamzar, Al Barsha, Al Wasl and Mushrif Parks will also have tables as part of the first stage, while tables will be rolled out at further parks in the coming months.

The Dubai-sponsored Chinese National Table Tennis Team helped launch Ping Pong Dubai by taking part in a UAE-China exhibition match and coaching masterclass attended by local youngsters and enthusiasts.

Jike Zhang, winner of the 2012 London Olympics gold medal, was part of the group in Safa Park, and said: “Table tennis is immensely popular in China and people come together in parks across the country to play every day. It is wonderful to see this happening in Dubai also. Table tennis can be enjoyed by anyone – no matter their age, ability or fitness level – and having tables in public parks captures this spirit.”

Jike Zhang– who was at the event with teammates Long Ma, the world number one men’s player, Shiwen Liu, the world number one women’s player, and Xiao Xia Li, the 2012 London Olympics gold winner, as well as Olympic silver medalists Ning Ding and Wang Hao – is also delighted to see how much Ping Pong Dubai has engaged the community, and helped the game grow, since its May 2013 launch.

He added: “It is always pleasing for us to see table tennis being developed in other countries and witnessing people sharing in China’s passion for the sport,” added Jike Zhang.“It is very exciting to see the impact Ping Pong Dubai is having.”