by Simon Daish
Fiji successfully hosted three major events throughout the year including the first ever ITTF Oceania Para Championships while the island nation located in the South Pacific also impressed at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games.
While the loss of a permanent venue came as a blow the president of the Fiji Table Tennis Association Anthony Ho believes that on reflection 2017 was a positive year overall.
“This year was one of the successful years despite the fact that we experienced a few ups and downs.” Anthony Ho.
Areas of the sport where Fijian table tennis appears to be thriving is at junior and cadet level as well as the Para scene.
Success for Fiji at the 2017 China Junior and Cadet Open with a bronze medal finish in the Junior Girls’ Team event, the country also secured qualification for the World Cadet Challenge in both team categories while a gold medal for Merewalesi Roden in the Women’s Singles Class 2-5 competition helped Fiji to a second position finish overall at the 2017 ITTF-Oceania Para Championships.
Alongside organising special coaching clinics for the country’s players, the Fijian Table Tennis Association has also been busy focusing on developing the sport at grassroots level, promoting table tennis in schools and giving people with disabilities the opportunity to get involved.
“We’ve been successful in bringing in overseas experts to assist the players in training as well as conducting international coaching courses. In addition, we continued to develop our grassroots table tennis via more school and rural outreach and continued to expand para table tennis to people with disabilities via our weekly visits to special schools and disability organisations and having fun days for various types of disabilities.” Anthony Ho.
Moving forwards the Fijian Table Tennis Association is looking for a coach and Anthony Ho would also like to see more support from sponsors to help the nation’s brightest stars reach their full potential.
“We hope to secure a short or full-time coach for 2018 while we organise our top players for various overseas training camps and competitions. We hope more corporate sponsors can come forth to assist our top players in reaching their goals in 2018 and beyond through to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.” Anthony Ho.
Source: Fiji Sun