17 Nov 2023

Table tennis in Oceania is on the rise in 2023 following an increase in participation by Member Associations in the lead up to local and regional events. Exciting new opportunities lay ahead in October as more MA’s plan activities under the ITTF Participation Program. Through August and September ITTF Participation Program Online Services were held on an ongoing basis with 3 MAs.

New Caledonia took part in an online remote training camp conducted by ITTF Participation Officer Trevor Hirth, targeting national PTT athletes in preparation for the Oceania Para Championship & Pacific Games coming up in November. Following on from a PTT Training Camp in 2022, PTT integration is a high priority for the association and is being led by coach Cathy Gauthier. In attendance were 4 male and 4 female players. A further PTT training camp will be held in November as a national activity supported by the Participation Program.

PTT Head Coach Ms. Cathy Gauthier: “The remote training camp was a great opportunity to learn from ITTF Expert Trevor Hirth, taking his experience in PTT to develop our team for the Oceania Para Championship and Pacific Games. We wish to build on the inclusive culture in our association and learn new skills for coaches and athletes together”

Participants at the remote PTT Training Camp, Noumea, New Caledonia

New Zealand, besides focusing on upskilling national youth team coaches with engaging Coach-The-Coach online sessions, has also held a preparation training camp in Auckland featuring 9 women and 11 men for the Oceania Senior & Youth Championship.

During the training camp, each member selected for the team was presented with the national team jersey. Men’s senior team representative Alfred De La Pena highlighted the transformative changes made in TTNZ recently during his moving presentation speech. Check out TTNZ’s Facebook to watch it.

Table Tennis New Zealand National Training Camp

Papua New Guinea is completing online services aimed at developing their national structure, while also promoting table tennis in new areas. PNG will be holding an inclusive training camp for PTT athletes and youth players from provincial areas later this month.

2 Member Associations have also conducted their own National Projects to be supported financially through the ITTF Participation Program. 

Fiji had a very successful inclusive National Championships together with selection trials for Pacific Games teams featuring 11 men and 7 women. Promotion of table tennis was also present at the sports festival during Olympic Day. Fiji TTA has a high focus on inclusion with many PTT athletes taking part in the championships as well as members from the deaf community.

Inclusive Table Tennis Community, Fiji

Samoa has held an 8-day national training camp in Apia supporting athletes from outer villages during August. The team hopes to be competitive at the Pacific Games later this year held in the Solomons Islands during November. National Team members will also travel abroad to take up some training opportunities leading up to the Pacific Games.

Successful On-site activities have recently been completed in Tonga and Cook Islands.

Jessica MacAskill (NZL) conducted an ITTF PTT Level 1 Coaching Course and Training Camp in Nuku’alofa,  Tonga in the lead up to the 2023 National Championship in July. The course was supported through ITTF Development’s Participation Program, with additional financial support being provided by Tonga Table Tennis Federation to enable 3 Para development officers and community coaches to travel to a central location and attend. The focus was to upskill coaches who will assist in their local communities and schools. There were 15 participants in attendance with 6 of those being females and 4 individuals identifying as having a disability. The local development officers and National players amongst the group helped the less experienced to quickly gain some newfound skills to pass on to the next generation of young Tongan players.

“Although I try to teach one way in my community, I now have a lot more knowledge to improve the experience for our youngsters. It is important for me to see and learn new ways of coaching and learn from others in this group. This course has helped us to do this.” – Course participant – Tokomea

ITTF PTT Level 1 Coaching Course, Tonga

In Rarotonga, Cook Islands, ITTF Participation Officer Trevor Hirth was able to conduct a DMA Activity focusing on youth development and getting table tennis active in schools. President Tearoa Iorangi has now established a permanent home for Table Tennis at APII Arorangi school with 4 tables currently and being expanded to 6 with minor renovations.

Positive sessions were held at Apii Arorangi and Apii Nikau schools as well as nightly sessions focused on harnessing the talent youth development. It was great to see an even mix of 25 boys and 24 girls total in the training sessions. Further work will be done with the assistance of the National Olympic Committee to identify potential coaches and reach out to more schools to introduce table tennis.

“Cook Islands is now active again playing Table Tennis. It’s great to now have a home for regular training so the youth can be developed”, said Cook Islands TTA President Tearoa Iorangi

Cook Islands Table Tennis hopes to engage with outer island communities to help grow participation numbers for the bi-annual 2024 Cook Islands Games to over 200, something that was previously achieved before the pandemic.

Arorangi Primary School Session, Cook Islands

Coming up in 2023 further on-site activities will be held in Papeete, Tahiti –  where Nicolas Guigon (FRA) will conduct a Hopes Week & Challenge aimed at providing opportunities to players from outer islands.

Trevor Hirth has embarked on a Micronesia tour that will run through October, beginning with a DMA Activity in Marshall Islands, followed by another DMA Activity in Guam, and ending in Palau with an Inclusive Training Camp. These development activities will help the sub-region development ahead of the 2024 Micronesia Games to be held in the Marshall Islands.

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