by Jessica Macaskill
Venue for the proceedings was the offices of the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee; led by Australia’s Jessica Macaskill, a total of 18 students attended.
Notably the members came from a wide range of backgrounds. The group included teachers, as well as Para and club coaches.
The coaches who participated in the course have all been involved with some of the recently established table tennis initiatives organised by the Tonga Table Tennis Federation. The enterprises include a schools programme targeted at eight to 12 year olds, the aim being to increase the awareness of table tennis as a sport, as well as teach the basic skills. Also there were Para visits to schools and centres that have benefited recently from regular weekly coaching; the aim being to introduce a new sport.
“The children at my school are excited to play table tennis and I feel I can now teach some of the skills and introduce the rules to them so they can continue to enjoy the sport”, Katie Lowe, Toloa School.
Notably, the course had a high success rate with every coach learning multiple new skills and enjoying their week. All the teachers were very happy to learn new skills, especially the representative from Red Cross-Ofa Tui Amanaki; undoubtedly, the Para component had proved most beneficial and had helped greatly with teaching when facing disabled students.
“I am very pleased with the course and is delighted to have many new coaches at various levels that can assist in further developing table tennis in Tonga; these coaches are a great resource that can help us develop future talent and our team ahead of the 2019 Pacific Games and beyond”. Hasiloni Fungavai, President Tonga Amateur Table Tennis Association
Additionally many of the coaches, the favourite part was learning about how to organize tournaments; the Ocean of Light School was certainly motivated and expressed the view that they intend to promote inter school competitions.