A CONNECTION between two table tennis clubs more than 1,000 miles apart could be formed.

Members of Akmenes rajono stalo teniso klubas, in Lithuania, were due to touch down in Scotland on Wednesday before heading to Haddington for the East Lothian Open this weekend.

The competition, which takes place in the East Lothian town’s Aubigny Sports Centre, will feature more than 65 of the best table tennis players from Edinburgh and the Lothians, as well as their visitors from Vilnius.

Pete Lugton, head coach at the Haddington club, which has seen its membership swell to 100 following the coronavirus pandemic, was looking forward to welcoming the special guests.

He explained how a link between the two clubs was already being formed.

The graphic designer said: “Lorenas Vismantas, who was living in Haddington up until two or three years ago, was coaching alongside me.

“He left to go back to Lithuania – he and his wife got homesick and wanted to go back.

“He has gone back to a job where he is working in a table tennis club.

“He recently invited me and another member, Rolandas Skultinas, to a tournament for their birthday party.

“It was a fantastic place and the people were brilliant, so welcoming. We have got the East Lothian Open and it coincides with the Haddington Festival.

“They know it is happening and so they are going to bring a squad of 15.”

The members of the Lithuanian club are to be welcomed by Provost John McMillan and given a tour of Haddington.

The following day, they plan to visit Edinburgh and North Berwick, before helping set up the hall at the sports centre for the tournament on Saturday.

Earlier this month, the club was awarded a grant by the town’s community council to go towards the cost of the event.

Mr Lugton, who has played the sport for almost 40 years, was hopeful a link between the two clubs could be properly established.

He said: “I am calling them our sister club – I think there is a club in Aubigny we should probably be tying up with but we have got our old coach in Lorenas.

“A trip to Lithuania would be nice.”