EX International Table Tennis Player makes a bid for World Veterans 60+ Championship 2020
Portsmouth resident Steve Mills is proud and excited to announce that he is entering the World Veterans Championships for the over 60’s in June 2020. His is an astonishing story of determination and drive to make a celebrated comeback into the world of Championship Table Tennis. Steve never thought he would play again having had a total hip replacement 3 years ago, but his efforts in training and the will to succeed have enabled him to reach the very high standard necessary to compete. Ranked as high as 6 in the UK Steve played against the Chinese World Champions on his 18th birthday, but he didn’t quite make the 4 man team for the following Olympics or World Championships.
“Not making the World Championships was a huge disappointment for me. Although everyone was really proud of me I woke up one day and realised that I was now 28 and I was not going to fulfil my dream of being a World Champion.”
“As a result, I thought – What am I going to do now?”. I decided to set up my own business to help motivate and train entrepreneurs and SME’s in how to sell and market their products/services and used all my experience of the sports industry to help these businesses to become successful and grow. I still do this today, I love it and live it, just like sport!
However, I had this nagging feeling that I could have done better, and to be honest I didn’t think I’d ever play again after having a hip replacement operation a few years ago. However, I started practising and training and slowly improving, going up the ranks in the local leagues, National League and Veterans ranking tables and realised that I still could win, albeit in a different age group. I’m currently ranked 20 in the over 50’s, so recently turning 60 has meant I am now ranked No.6 again in England, but this time it’s in the over 60’s category and not competing with men 30 to 40 years my junior is good! I’m looking forward to being one of the youngest in the 60+ age group and hopefully winning a Gold Medal!
Things are very different for sportspeople now. When I was 18 I appeared on Blue Peter with John Noakes as I was one of the very first athletes to use a machine that fired table tennis balls that you could practice against. I still have my Blue Peter Badge!
These days we have so much more information about training. I train every day and compete on most weekends. As a player now I focus on nutrition; I don’t eat red meat and rarely drink. I joined a gym to access the amazing equipment and I do Pilates to help core strength.
My aim is simple! I want to be World Champion 60+ Table Tennis Champion and if I lose in the final it will be a failure. My principle thinking is that I hadn’t learnt enough to be world-class in the men’s game – so now that I know more why don’t I try again?
It’s been tough, really tough, as in my head I still feel like I’m 27, but my body is telling me I’m not, I’m 60!”
“I’m now preparing for several warm-up competitions, and recently got to the final of the ‘South of England Veterans Masters Championships’.
I’ve learnt that age doesn’t limit ambitions to succeed. I have also learnt that the standard of play in the UK over 60’s is very high and in the world’s it will be much higher. I’m so impressed with the standard out there, the techniques and skill base is impressive, and being around older people who feel the same way as me is such a buzz.
It’s about getting up and doing the hard work. I’m keen for my story to be told because I genuinely want people to know there is life after 60 and that a hip operation doesn’t mean the end of your ability to stay physically fit and competitive.
I’ve been inspired by people around me and I want to act as an inspiration to others – so if my story helps people feel positive about themselves and the future then I’m excited for that.”
Contact Steve Mills 07977074497 or Judy Walker (Head of PR) 07852215201