Is ping pong the secret of long life, or maybe eternal life? You might think so, after watching this sweet-natured documentary about the Over 80s World Table Tennis Championships, which take place in Inner Mongolia. These gladiators of the ping-pong table are in their 80s and 90s; one woman from Australia is 100 years old. They are, in the main, people who have been vigorous sportsmen and sportswomen all their lives, but one woman from Germany only took the sport up in her 80s after ill health and a stroke, and it appears to have re-energised her. Interestingly, the film shows that the over-80s table-tennis scene is much the same as any other sporting event: there is rivalry, egomania and even dirty tricks, like nicking someone else’s bat. And the bitterness of losing doesn’t get any less painful with age. Director Hugh Hartford does not patronise his stars, although perhaps there is something too gently celebratory and obviously feelgood about the film. These dynamic table-tennis stars put the rest of us to shame.
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