October 3, 2018

Dear Friends,

We’re fast approaching the mid-point of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan and this is an opportune time to reflect on the progress made since the plan’s inception, and provide an update on the direction of ITTF-Oceania.

It’s been a year and a half since I took on the role of Executive Director of ITTF-Oceania and what a year and half!

Some of the highlights include:

  • Established Smash Down Barriers as an outstanding sport-for-development program. With support from Table Tennis Australia, and the Australian Government, ITTF-Oceania creates a positive change in the lives of people with disability living in targeted Pacific Island Countries.
  •  Continued to invest in the education of coaches with multiple ITTF-PTT Level 1 coaching courses conducted. Similarly, five Basic Umpire Courses have been delivered, and in October, ITTF-Oceania is coordinating an International Referee School to support our budding officials across the region.
  • Increased the number of athlete scholarships awarded based on results at the ITTF-Oceania Championships, the ITTF-Oceania Junior Championships and the Pacific Cup.
  • Implemented new High Performance initiatives like the Elevate Program which includes regional training camps with young, talented athletes, and increased access to coach education.
  • Secured the rights to the Australian Open as a Platinum Event of the ITTF World Tour. Having a World Tour event increases access to top-level competition for Oceania-based athletes, inspires a new generation of players, increases the popularity of the sport within the public and corporate sectors, and secures new partners for ITTF-Oceania.
  • Rolled out the ITTF-Oceania Tour across six countries in Oceania. The Tour aims to provide increased access to competition and prize money for Oceania players, and serves as a development tool where National Associations work closely with ITTF-Oceania to deliver events that are locally relevant, entertaining and sustainable.
  • Finally, we’re currently pilot-testing a new program called Developing National Associations (DNA). ITTF-Oceania will partner with National Associations and invest into their capacity so they can enhance their governance and sustainability, run sustainable participation programs, provide pathways for high performance, and host national and international events.

What’s coming next? The future is exciting:

  • A new participation program will be rolled out in 2019, aiming to promote social inclusion and active, healthy lifestyles and complement the Smash Down Barriers program. A new, user-friendly manual will be available for beginner coaches, school teachers and community leaders to use table tennis as a tool to improve the lives of children in Oceania.
  • New placement opportunities will be available for young talented athletes to train in more professional, structured environments.
  • More support for Oceania athletes and officials, with increased access to education opportunities and higher prize money at our events.
  • ITTF-Oceania has announced an exciting partnership with Deakin University, who will support our sport-for-development programs in the Pacific.

At this point, I would like to thank all the National Associations, athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers for their continued support. Implementing these changes requires a comprehensive approach and the collaboration of all stakeholders.

Yours in table tennis,

Christian Holtz, ITTF-Oceania Executive Director