A NEW generation of young players are learning the sport of table tennis from one of the top coaches in the UK game.
Stephen Gertsen will later this month fly to Australia with a three-man Scottish team to take on some of the best players in the world at the Commonwealth Games.
For the last 18 months he has been nurturing emerging talent from across Moray at the weekly sessions at Elgin Academy, part of the Elgin Table Tennis Club programme for youth and adults.
Gertsen, a sports lecturer at Moray College UHI, is also head coach of the Scotland table tennis squad and is looking forward to heading Down Under.
"I am looking forward to wearing a kilt for the first time. We picked up our kilts last week at a team camp in Dunblane," he said.
Gertsen (31) represented the country of his birth, Wales, at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and is relishing returning to that arena as head coach of his adopted country.
He and wife Marina, who is Scottish, met in London and moved to Inverness three years ago to run a bed and breakfast business in the Highland capital.
"It has been a great move for us but I didn't expect to become national coach. We have a really good team and although none of our players are among the favourites to get a medal, if they play well they have an outside chance."
The Scottish No.1 Gavin Rumgay is ranked 118 in the world, with No.2 Craig Howieson and No.3 Colin Dalgleish both strong players also.
Gertsen hopes the Commonwealth Games can inspire the young players at the Elgin club and revealed that he has already challenged one youngster to aim for the Scottish primary squad in the next year.
For more on the club and the Commonwealth Games and more pictures, see next week's Northern Scot.