The story of Joy and Tom Boyd OAM is one that can’t be left untouched.
The story of Manchester 2002 bronze medallist Joy Boyd OAM and her husband Tom Boyd is a story of their commitment and service to table tennis.
A commitment that has even been recognised with one of the highest honours – an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) – on Australia Day 2021.
This year, Table Tennis Australia (TTA) recognises Joy and Tom’s efforts with a 50 Years of Service award at the 2021 Table Tennis Australia Volunteer Awards, which commends the remarkable achievements of those people making a significant and genuine contribution to the sport.
Tom started playing table tennis at the age of 16, when he first began working.
“They had a table tennis table in the lunchroom so I played and sort of caught the bug from there,” said the now 92-year-old.
“We more or less met through table tennis.
“Joy and I met in 1985 and we played in many of the veteran championships which we started in 1984. Joy was known to me because we played one another in the local competitions.”
Joy has been involved in the sport for 65 years, and was the Secretary and Treasurer of NSW Table Tennis Association and the coaching coordinator before meeting Tom.
The married couple would go on to help found the Kiama Table Tennis Club in 2003 which now boasts a growing membership base of more than 70 people. The focus of the club is to encourage older players to enhance their physical fitness through table tennis and find social enjoyment within the game.
“We’ve made some great friends throughout Australia. We love going to our club Kiama because of the comradery with everyone. That is the main reason I keep going because of the friendships we’ve made,” Joy said.
“I think the social side of it is a big part of our reason,” Tom chimed in.
One of Joy’s fondest memories was being part of Australia’s team at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, where she won bronze in the Wheelchair Class, a feat no other Australian wheelchair athlete has matched to date.
“It was fantastic to go there and I also won a bronze medal as well,” she said.
For Tom, who helped establish the Australian Veteran Championships and won 10 gold medals in the process, he doesn’t have to look too far afield for his favourite memory which was being awarded an OAM
“I thought I would never have an award for such a thing,” he said. “I think the most exciting thing in awarding the OAM was the fact that so many people were involved with it, in particular from our club.
“We have so many tremendous people there and the State Association as well.”
For Joy and Tom, it was a lovely surprise to discover that they had won the 50 Years of Service award because they love being involved in volunteering.
“It’s just part of life, you don’t expect to be paid for anything, you do it for the love of it,” Joy said.
“It is a labour of love,” added Tom.
“There’s a lot of people we’d like to thank and we’re grateful we’ve gotten to this stage and we hope to carry on as long as we can,” Joy concluded.
With thanks Table Tennis Australia.