All eight team and all 20 individual titles, on Saturday 10th September when play closed at the Eastland 2022 ITTF-Oceania Championships, it was a clean sweep for Australia.
Success for the host nation, most significantly it was success for the ITTF-Oceania.
The decision to stage the tournament at the Eastland Shopping Centre was vindicated in a city that possesses some of the world’s most iconic arenas.
Mind blowing, from an empty concrete shopping space, a world class venue was created, a show court table featured, production streamed, surprised shoppers open eyed as they were engaged in a range of activities.
Everyone, players, coaches and officials was of one voice, high praise.
Quite simply, the out-of-the-box experiment, created by ITTF-Oceania to give the sport maximum exposure, attract the general public, proved a complete success. Understandably, Anthony Moore, the recently elected President of ITTF-Oceania, was delighted with the outcome.
“Our objective was to bring the sport to new audiences, without compromising on services level. We saw family with children coming, trying their hand at it, and asking where they could play regularly. With 3,000 unique visitors on the final day, it exceeded our expectations, and those of Eastland which saw a significant increase in foot traffic during the week. It was a true win-win.” Anthony Moore
Eastland proved the perfect partner, giving full support in the lead up campaign that involved community activities, a school tournament, and digital cross-promotion.
Petra Sörling, ITTF President, and Graham Symons, ITTF Executive Vice President and President of Table Tennis Australia, visited the Championships; both were impressed by the level of community engagement.
“Each continent, each member association, has its own identity and its own challenges; it is great to see them trying new things their own way. ITTF-Oceania, after a frustrating three years in a region still facing travel difficulties because of Covid-19, dared to innovate. It paid dividends; I witnessed the positive impact these Championships have made for table tennis” Petra Sörling
During the visit to Melbourne, the ITTF leadership also met with Matt Carroll, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee, Jeroen Weimars, CEO of the Organising Committee for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games, and Craig Phillips, CEO of Commonwealth Games Australia, to discuss performances and the importance of table tennis in multisport events.
Meetings with representatives of the Victorian Government and Visit Victoria also took place to discuss hosting of international events in the state.