by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Organised under the auspices of the Oceania Table Tennis Federation and Table Tennis Australia, China in Oceania is supported by the ITTF Development Programme via ITTF Dream Building. Additionally, the project is backed by the Chinese Table Tennis Association and Double Happiness.
Overall the programme includes 22 players and 11 coaches from seven countries: Australia, China, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
A major aim of the training camp was to help players prepare for the forthcoming World title events. The training camp was held prior to the Oceania Cadet Team leaving to compete in the 2016 ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Shanghai. In the more long term it provided the Australian Junior Team with valuable practice in preparation for the ensuing World Junior Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.
Two major events in mind but there was a longer lasting legacy thanks to the efforts of Double Happiness in conjunction with the China Table Tennis Association. They provided 14 table tennis tables, 200 rubbers and 50 blades to be distributed throughout the Oceania region.
At the conclusion of the camp, four Most Valuable Player Awards were presented; two for Oceania; two for China. The Oceania recipients were Australia’s Jake Duffy and Holly Nicolas, for China it was Li Yijie and Zhang Zhao.
Intense training but there was also time for relaxation. The players from China revelled in the experience of seeing the native Australian animals at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary; each player was able to hug a koala. It was a truly unique experience.
“The opportunity afforded to the athletes and coaches from Oceania through the China in Oceania Programme was well received by all participants and provided an insight into the way in which China develops their table tennis athletes”, said Michael Brown, ITTF and Africa-Oceania Development Co-ordinator
A innovative concept with Michael Brown deeply grateful for the support he had received.
“The support provided by Double Happiness, the Chinese Table Tennis Association, ITTF-Oceania and Table Tennis Association made for a successful training camp, and brought together coaches and athletes from various countries”, he stressed. “ITTF Dream Building really gave the athletes and coaches an opportunity to dream and hopefully this experience will inspire these athletes to achieve great results in the future.”
Equally there was a resounding vote of approval from Australian player Zaki Zenaidee and Ham Lulu, the Vanuatu coach.
“The experience to learn from some of the world’s best coaches and athletes is an experience I won’t soon forget”, said Zaki Zenaidee.
It was endorsed by Ham Lulu.
“It was great to work with other coaches from Oceania and learn from the Chinese coaches”, he added.
A splendid initiative; it was one never to forget.