by Ian Marshall, Editor
Focus of attention was the ITTF Strategic Plan in an area of the world where development is very much a key element, a fact of which Steve Dainton, the ITTF Chief Executive is well aware, some ten years ago he was the Oceania Development Officer.
Prior to 1999 and the advent of the ITTF Development Programme only some four of five associations in the region were active in the sport of table tennis; by 2006 than number had risen dramatically over ten islands were organizing coaching and events. Now in the present era, all possible 24 land areas are members of the International Table Tennis Federation.
Each continent of the world has its own particular issues to attend, in Oceania a major subject is travel. Australia and New Zealand are the main land masses but for the remaining members of the Oceania Table Tennis Federation are all comparatively small islands, some smaller than others; size making table tennis the ideal sport. There is no space for a championship golf course!
A range of presentations were made encouraging debate and providing food for thought; a situation that had applied to all prior such gatherings.
The first Continental Forum was staged on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on the occasion of the Stag 2018 European Youth Championships. Next the destination was San José in Costa Rica on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th August attracting 36 representatives from Latin American national associations. More recently, the home was the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius; the meeting held on Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th September during the 2018 ITTF African Championships.
Throughout the initiative and the dialogue has been greatly appreciated.