May 14, 2018

Participants after completing their PTT Level 1 certificates.

Thanks to funding from the AGITOS Foundation – the development arm of the IPC – ITTF-Oceania was able to provide education, training and match experience in para sport for participants from six different countries within Oceania. Para athletes and coaches from the region headed to Canberra for the Australian Para Championships which was held from 4th-8th May. Around the championships a PTT Level 1 Course was held, as well as a training camp for the athletes.

Bringing together Oceania’s best para athletes and coaches gave ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer Patrick Wuertz a positive outlook for the sport’s development.

“It was the interaction among the participants from the pacific islands with the Australian National Team that makes me optimistic about the future of para table tennis in the Oceania region.” Patrick Wuertz, ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer

Course participant Harvi Yee used the opportunity to further her knowledge by tapping in to the experience on offer.

“The resources in Canberra are lot better than we are used to and hence, it was motivating to learn and train under these conditions. Alois, Patrick and our team manager Roger are very experienced when it comes to coaching players with a disability and we were able to learn a lot from them.” Harvi Yee, Fiji

For Haoda Agari, the trip from Papua New Guinea to Australia provided the chance to not only face new opponents but also benefit from the array of training partners; something hard to find back home.

“The best part of the trip was to practice alongside the National para athletes from Australia. We learned a lot from them when we played against them at the Australian Para Championships, however, it was even more beneficial for us to train together with them. We will certainly take this knowledge back to PNG and pass it on to our players.” Haoda Agari, Papua New Guinea

For Vanuatu’s Ham Lulu, the camp allowed him to develop new skills specific to athletes with disability, with the aim of implementing these back home. 

“Even though I have been to many high level training camps, I learned a lot about table tennis with people with a disability. Our aim in Vanuatu is to grow participation in this area and hopefully, have a team representing our country in future Oceania Para Championships.” Ham Lulu, Vanuatu

With the camp now over, the hard work truly begins.

“It is now up to the participants of the camp to decide what they do with the input they received. I am hopeful that this was not just a short trip to Australia for the participants but rather a real educational experience that provides them with skills and the motivation to make an impact in their local community.”  Patrick Wuertz, ITTF-Oceania High Performance Officer

Special thanks go to Alois Rosario, Roger Massie and the team from the Canberra Table Tennis Association who did an amazing job in organising and facilitating the event.