by Simon Daish
The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were two of the standout competitions on 2016’s sporting calendar and Fiji had representatives at both events with Sally Yee having qualified for the Olympic Games and Mere Rodan making an appearance at the Paralympic Games.
However, President Anthony Ho was also impressed with the progression of the youth squad over the year and was happy to see the country’s younger players begin to excel, “It was a truly unforgettable experience. Grace Yee was selected as one of 10 girls under the age of 15 to be part of the ITTF Rough Diamond project for high level training in Luxembourg… Also Grace and Vicky Wu attended the World Cadet Challenge.”
Anthony Ho went on to talk about Fiji’s Para setup and how proud he was for the country with the hosting of the 2016 Fiji Open and Para Open held in January:
“The 2016 Fiji Open and Para Open became a premier event in the Oceania region with more than 10 countries participating including wheelchair and standing disabilities events. People with disabilities from New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific Island countries were treated to one of the largest Para events in the region’s history” – Anthony Ho.
Looking ahead to 2017, Anthony Ho confirmed that there is some uncertainty for Fijian Table Tennis as December 2016 is the final month of access for their current venue. The President of the National Association is keen to find a new venue without delay:
“Fiji Table Tennis is also awaiting news of its request for a new venue and other assistance including coaches and training stints in China under the Fiji-China Sports Cooperation programme [to] which we had made a submission in November 2015,” said Anthony Ho. “The lack of a venue will stifle development, social Table Tennis, Para Table Tennis as well as our players preparing for various major events including the 2017 Mini Pacific Games.”
Yet despite the setback, Anthony Ho is still excited about the year ahead and is hoping to see a continued development in the sport for Fiji moving forward.
“Fiji Table Tennis intends to attract more younger players as well as more people with disabilities to take up the sport through its outreach programmes. It intends to take the sport to Vanua… and resurrect the huge potential in the West” – Anthony Ho.