Still hitting winners at 96
CRACKING ping pong balls back and forth every week may be a bit of a stretch physically for most but for one 96-year-old, it's all part of the fun.
Just four years off receiving a letter from the Queen upon reaching the most magic of milestones, Coolangatta's Ted Marchwicki has a great eye for table tennis and a forehand to match.
With a spring in his step, Mr Marchwicki glides almost effortlessly during games at Coolangatta's Senior Citizens Club, where he indulges in his great love of table tennis three days a week.
"Table tennis is my life," Mr Marchwicki said.
"I regard Coolangatta Seniors as my family. I've played at my leisure in different countries but never like this. It's like a family and it's absolutely marvellous."
The journey to hitting away at Coolangatta Seniors culminated about six years ago, after starting in Poland where Mr Marchwicki was born on October 13, 1920.
After being displaced during the Second World War, Mr Marchwicki found himself working as a barber in the Czech Republic (previously Czechoslovakia), before being enlisted into the German army.
Fighting for Germany on the Italian front, Mr Marchwicki was taken prisoner by American soldiers and placed in a prisoner of war camp, before a strange turn of events led to him back to the front but in a different uniform.
"They found out I wasn't German but Polish and I was given the option to volunteer for the British army, which got me out of the prisoner of war camp," Mr Marchwiki said.
After posting at two medical schools, Mr Marchwicki was eventually sent back to the Italian front.
"I ended up fighting on the same front for the other side," Mr Marchwicki said.
Ending up in England, Mr Marchwicki was demobbed from the army and found his way to Australia on P&O vessel, the SS Orontes in 1960.
A keen sportsman, Mr Marchwicki settled on the Gold Coast and has been an avid member of the gun club, the bowls club, the swimming club and then table tennis.
He plays on Tuesday nights, Wednesdays, Fridays and on Sundays and has always maintained an active, healthy lifestyle well beyond his age.
He puts his amazing health down to moderation and self discipline.
"I don't drink, I don't smoke and don't swear. I live in moderation. I like exercise, vegetables and plenty of fruit."
Mr Marchwicki celebrated his 96th birthday on October with a big cake from his friends at Coolangatta Seniors.
Coolangatta Seniors' table tennis are looking for more members. Visit http://coolangattaseniors.com.au/ for information.