Table Tennis reaching the far corners of Tonga
September 19, 2020
Last month, Table tennis reached the most northern island group of Tonga; Niuafo’ou (584km north of the main island Tongatapu) and Niuatoputapu (near the border with Samoa). These two islands have a population of 600 people and 850 people respectively. Tonga Table Tennis Federation (TTTF) CEO Netina Latu travelled with the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Honourable Vatau Hui by boat as part of the Minister’s Parliamentarian visit to his constituency. The Hon. Minister remained in Niuafo’ou as Netina continued to Niuatoputapu. Both islands received equipment donated by TTTF including table tennis tables, bats and nets to the principals of Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu High Schools as an effort to expand table tennis to more remote regions of Tonga. In addition, both high schools received guides with translated versions of coaching booklets and tips to run table tennis lessons for students.
Lessons at Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu High Schools will be run by the school principals and teachers with TTTF planning to send technical staff at the end of each month to support the lessons. In particular, Niuafo’ou High School’s Deputy Principal, Martina Fungavai who is a national player, will help deliver lessons to students.
This program is a good starting point for an inclusive table tennis program in Tonga as TTTF builds the capacity and enhances table tennis to more areas in Tonga. TTTF plans to continue to provide support to these islands in the coming months with more coaching opportunities from TTTF staff to help upskill locals to deliver lessons.
In addition to the work, TTTF is doing to reach remote regions on Tonga, Tonga is currently hosting their annual Fiefia Tonga Sports program, a Business House competition which will run for 13 weeks. This competition includes a number of different sports including table tennis and will heavily feature SDB para-athletes as well as national players. For more information – TTTF Facebook.