September 6, 2019

 

Students from Yat Sen at the BiB launch

ITTF-Oceania, with the support of the Australian Government and the Fiji Table Tennis Association, is excited to launch Bounce it Back in Fiji. The program was officially launched today, Friday the 6th September at the Yat Sen Hall.

The Guest of honour was the Counsellor of the Australian High Commission, Renee Deschamps. Other key guests include the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Heritage and Arts, Ms Alison Burchell; ITTF-Oceania President Anthony Ho; as well as representatives from the Fiji National Sports Council and the Fiji Paralympic Committee. The launch included formal speeches, performances by Yat Sen School as well as the chance for students and teachers from Yat Sen School to take part in some fun Table Tennis activities.

Trevor Hirth at the BiB launch in Fiji

Bounce it Back (BiB) is a sport-for-development initiative supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Sports Partnership program and ITTF-Oceania. The participation program includes a 8-sessions tailored to meet the needs of mainstream schools within the Pacific and has two objectives:

  • Increase Levels of Physical Activity and
  • Promoting Social Inclusion

By engaging kids in fun games and activities, the program aims to generate more interest in table tennis and develop inclusive mindsets.

The program commenced earlier in the week with a two-day workshop for FTTA development officers and local teachers. Three schools and two community groups will take part in the initial 8-week program with more schools ready to join the program in 2020. Fiji is the second country in Oceania to implement this program after a successful pilot in Tonga in April.

“ITTF-Oceania is delighted to be launching the Bounce it Back program here in Fiji. Increasing participation by youth in sport and promoting social inclusion is of big importance in the Oceania region. The Bounce it Back program complements the Smash Down Barriers Disability program which is already well established in Fiji. As a sports federation, we are dedicated to changing the negative perceptions and attitudes towards persons with a disability (PWD) and helping create more opportunities through Table Tennis.” – Jessica Macaskill, ITTF-Oceania High Performance & Development Manager

ITTF-Oceania and FTTA are also fortunate to have Australian Para-athlete and Smash Down Barriers Ambassador Trevor Hirth, as well as two local Fiji Para Athletes Iakoba Taubakoa (Kope) and Laniana Serukalou assisting with the training and the launch of the program.

“Through the many facets of the Bounce it Back and Smash Down Barriers programs, we’re hoping to address the negative attitudes towards PWD.  The program aims to highlight and celebrate the fact that we all have a unique identity and different abilities, something to be proud of.” – Trevor Hirth

ITTF Oceania is excited for the future of this program and look forward to implementing Bounce it Back in more countries in the coming months to kick start the 2020 school year.

More information on the Bounce it Back program can be found here.

Stay updated with our Smash Down Barriers program here.