29 Oct 2018

Competing in Men’s Singles Class 6 at the recent 2018 ITTF World Para Championships in Lasko-Celje, play concluding on Saturday 20th October, Australia’s Trevor Hirth did not enjoy the best of fortunes in the playing arena; he finished in third place in his group behind Great Britain’s David Wetherill and Frenchman Bastien Grundeler.

However, beyond doubt he has the greatest of respect from his fellow athletes; during the tournament, he was voted the Para Standing Athlete to join the ITTF Athletes Commission.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Trevor Hirth now joins Slovakia’s Alena Kanova, who in Lasko-Celje, was declared the Para Wheelchair representative. She was the only candidate.

Born in Melbourne, suffering from a neuromuscular disorder, whilst he played table tennis during his childhood, it is only recently that Trevor Hirth became a involved in Para table tennis. He was encouraged by former Para player Mick Tomlinson to compete in the 2013 Australian Para Table Tennis Championships. He played and for the guitarist whose penchant is so called thrash metal music, the journey began.

He was 29 year old at the time but had only celebrated seven birthdays; he was born on Wednesday 29th February 1984; leap year day!

Later at the 2015 Oceania Para Championships, he won bronze in Men’s Singles Class 6-7, before in 2017 in Class 6-7 securing gold; he made his debut at a Para Open International Tournament in 2013 in Thailand, his most recent such venture being early this year in the Czech Republic, when he secured silver in Class 6 partnering Frenchman Esteban Herrault.

However, it not the playing record that endears people to Trevor Hirth; although not competing he was present to lend support throughout the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and is known for his care for others and support of good causes. Recently, he grew a beard as long as Father Time and had it cut for charity.

Meanwhile, for Alena Kanova, the scenario is somewhat different. She was paralysed following a road accident when only 14 years of age. She attended the Slovakian National Rehabilitation Centre for a year, before returning to school. A table tennis table at home, she was able to practice.

Competing in Class 3 she was crowned European champion in in 1999 in Piestany, as well in 2007 in Kranjska Gora and two years later in Genoa. Notably she won gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and in Chinese Taipei in 2002 at the World Para Championships.

Notably, she represented Slovakia in the sport of curling at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Both are most welcome additions to the ITTF Athletes Commission.

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Alena Kanova Trevor Hirth