Double Happiness Helps Dreams Become Reality in Rock of Polynesia
Michael Brown, ITTF-Oceania Development Officer
Service practice for course members
Photo By: Courtesy of Wayne Gear
Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, often known as the "Rock of Polynesia", 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) north east of New Zealand, the island of Niue is currently in a rebuilding phase; the reason being Cyclone Heta hit the area soon after New Year’s Day in 2004.
In common with other activities, the Niue Table Tennis Association is seeking new horizons and of course life has not been easy. However, with dedication and highly motivated personnel in place progress is being made.
Dream building is in progress with policies that are very much in accordance with the efforts of the ITTF Development Department and the ITTF Dream Building Programme.
Principal Names Leading the way is Alan Poleosi (the Secretary General National Sport and Table Tennis), alongside Desmond Hipa (the President of the National Sports Body) and William Fong (a senior teacher at the High School).
They are instrumental in helping the table tennis community to slowly rebuild.
International Goal Furthermore, they have their eyes set on international competition.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games is a major goal.
Recent Visit Recently, New Zealand's Wayne Gear, visited the island, a person familiar with the Pacific having been the Boys’ Team coach for Oceania at the four most recent ITTF World Cadet Challenge Tournaments.
Additionally, he conducted a Development Course in French Polynesia (Tahiti) in 2011.
Table Donation The visit was made possible thanks the support given to ITTF-Oceania by Doubles Happiness who donated three table tennis tables.
Not only were the tables gladly accepted by the current table tennis players, they also attracted many new people to the sport.
Learning the basics Photo courtesy of Wayne Gear
School Curriculum New people to the sport and it would seem that many new people will be attracted to the sport in the very near future. There are not many schools within the Oceania Region that offer table tennis as a subject; however Niue High School has adopted the sport and included it into the curriculum.
Opportunity for Growth "This gives table tennis an advantage over other sports in Niue and gives the sport a real opportunity for growth”, said Wayne Gear. “The challenge will be to entice the school players to become club players and eventually national players, who eventually will be able to be competitive with other Oceania nations."
National Championships Also, the competition element is being addressed.
The course concluded with a local competition that will act as a seeding tournament for the forthcoming Niue National Championships; a total 14 players competed, the National Championships will be a hotly contested event with potential international representation just around the corner in 2014!
For Niue, a new era dawns.
Mermbers of the coaches course in Niue Photo courtesy of Wayne Gear