by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The course conductor was the host nation’s Jessica MacAskill, present in an area rich in New Zealand table tennis history.
Members of the national association’s Hall of Fame, Neti Traill and Murray Dunn are from the region as is James Morris, currently a member of the ITTF Executive Committee, all hail from the region.
“Jessica MacAskill, along with five other New Zealanders, attended a Regional ITTF Course Conductor Training at the beginning of 2015 in Fiji. Now throughout New Zealand many coaches are benefitting from the various courses taking place. It is very positive to see the reach of Table Tennis New Zealand, with various courses taking place throughout the country, this year alone and more planned for the future as well.” Michael Brown, ITTF Africa and Oceania Development Co-ordinator
Understandably the majority of the participants came from Whangarei but, in addition, there were course members who travelled from the counties of Manakau, Manurewa and Auckland.
“Simon Standing, who is the local logistics organiser and coach, was very happy with the course. Simon is driving junior development in the area and, with the new coaches under his wing, he now has the human resources to really reignite table tennis in Northland.” Jessica MacAskill
Encouraging and helping young players to take an interest in the sport of table tennis and gain a solid base from which they can progress is a major goal for those who attend such courses.
However, in Whangarei, a notable aspect was the fact that young players were course members.
“Throughout the course there were three junior players in attendance. Dinyar Irani, a former high ranked junior from Auckland, who is very motivated to pass on his experience to new players, was present. Also, Trevor Pene from Counties-Manakau, who is looking to take up coaching to support his local association’s development attended, as well as a local Northlander Josh Miedema. He says he is very keen on helping his peers and the younger kids at his club.” Jessica MacAskill
Progress and it is notable progress in an area of the world which judging by other sports, especially cricket and rugby, must be rich in latent table tennis talent.
“Northland has now taken the all-important first steps of coach development and is now on its way to implementing junior development, increasing player numbers and putting in place players’ pathways.” Jessica MacAskill
A foundation has been established, now it is time to build.