School Program released for World Table Tennis Day
The Bounce it Back manual is now available online at ittfoceania.com/participation/
In celebration of World Table Tennis Day, ITTF-Oceania has released the newly developed and long anticipated school program – Bounce it Back. The program aims to increase levels of physical activity and promote social inclusion in schools. The manual is now available online and can be downloaded at ittfoceania.com/participation/ The first sessions were implemented in Tonga over a 2 week period.
Students develop the basic skills of table tennis through play based activities
With the support of Tonga Table Tennis Federation, ITTF-Oceania introduced the program to nine schools which will continue running in term 2. The small community of Sia’atoutai which lies on the outskirts of Nuku’alofa committed to taking part in the full program over an 8 day period. Local Church Minister, Sione Folaumoetu’i was responsible for organising the pilot taking place in the community. As an after-school initiative, there was a diverse group of children who took part. “It was a challenge as we had a mix of ages taking part in the program, but the older kids are understanding the importance of accepting others and, that its ok to be different” says Folaumoetu’i. The community have two tables and are playing regularly, something Folaumoetu’i wants to continue growing. “I want the kids to keep playing and will encourage parents to take their kids to Tonga Table Tennis Federation for more training and expertise.”
The Bounce it Back manual incorporates inclusive games and activities into each session
Local para athletes have been assisting with the implementation of the program, increasing the visibility of persons with a disability within mainstream schools and communities. One of those athletes is Selemaia Loamanu. He was involved in a car accident at the age of 13 and required life-saving surgery which resulted in the amputation of his right arm. Selemaia was eager to support the program and spread the key messages of inclusion. “I really enjoyed teaching the kids table tennis and about accepting others, no matter if someone looks different to you or has different beliefs, we should be accepting.” Selemaia took part in the BiB workshop, school introductions and 8 session program at Sia’atoutai. “Talking to the kids and sharing my story, I really felt accepted. I was impressed with the kids and how receptive they were.” Selemaia strongly believes that including persons with a disability in the program is critical to its success, “it was very positive for us to be there, when we run the activities its confirmation to the kids that the messages we’re promoting are real and that everyone can play.”
Para athlete – Selemaia Loamanu demonstrates the forehand
All 24 Oceania member associations can access support, training and resources from ITTF-Oceania in order to deliver the program locally.