POV: Ping Pong

POV: Ping Pong

Monday, September 9 at 10:00 p.m.

Follow competitors in the Over 80 World Table Tennis Championships in China’s Inner Mongolia.

Call this old age, extreme edition: Eight players with 703 years among them compete in the Over 80 World Table Tennis Championships in China’s Inner Mongolia.

British players Terry, 81, who has been given a week to live, and Les, 91, a weightlifter and poet, are going for the gold. Inge, 89, from Germany, has used table tennis to paddle her way out of dementia. And Texan Lisa, 85, is playing for the first time. Ursula Bihl, 89, of Germany, won the world championship three years earlier and almost gave up on going to the 2010 championship. But, rallied by her son and coach, Gerhard, she decides to make the journey. Ursula and her son both believe ping pong is keeping her alive; she says she’d rather “die at the . . . table than in a care home.”

 “Ping Pong” is a wonderfully unusual story of hope, regret, friendship, ambition, love — and sheer human tenacity in the face of aging and mortality. By filmmakers Hugh Hartford and Anson Hartford.

Top photo: Competitor Nelly Penny

At right: Ursula & Gerhard Bihl