November 1, 2021

Participants of New Zealand’s pilot participation program developing their table tennis skills, this pilot is one of three My Gender My Strength programs in the Oceania Region.

As part of “My Gender. My Strength.” program, three Oceania member associations, Australia, New Zealand and Palau have been selected to implement activities focusing on increasing female participation and building the capacity of female leadership. The selected projects are supported through the International Table Tennis Federation High Performance Development program.

The aim of the MGMS program is to enhance and advance women’s participation in table tennis by supporting a wide range of creative national projects designed for female players, coaches, match officials, administrators, or managers.

Committed to increasing and developing female participation in our sport, Australia and New Zealand’s activities are underway with Palau set to commence theirs in November.

Christa Foulis is running the “My Gender. My Strength.” Spinneroos program at the Port Sorell Table Tennis Club, Australia. Photo Credit Burnie Online News.

Table Tennis Australia has five female Spinneroos coaches delivering training sessions over a four-week period in Townsville, Adelaide, Darwin, Port Sorell and Morphett Vale. The sessions aim to increase female participation and create an emotionally safe environment where girls can learn from the female coaches, to challenge themselves and develop skills and self-confidence.

Table Tennis New Zealand is running a pilot participation program in three regions, at one club and two schools. Two of the programs are for girls only aged 7 to 12 and are being led by female coaches. At the conclusion the pilot program will undergo an evaluation for the level of engagement of the participants and suitability of the program content. Through the pilot program Table Tennis New Zealand is dedicated to developing programs that will attract and retain young players, especially females to the sport.

School pupil participating in the Table Tennis New Zealand
“My Gender. My Strength.” program.

The Palau Table Tennis Association will commence their “My Gender. My Strength.” program in November with a three day community training event, open to female coaches, officials and community volunteers. The training will cover coach education, club participation and tournament organisation and the female participants will play an integral part in leading the organisation and delivery of the subsequent National Camp for under 18 youth and the National Championships. The Secretary General of Palau National Olympic Committee was very supportive and enthusiastic about the program: “This is about supporting Palau Table Tennis Association to build longer-term capacity ahead of the 2025 Pacific Mini-Games”, where Palau will be hosting the Games.

Through the activities implemented, the ongoing support of the International Table Tennis Federation High Performance Development program, and the continuation of strengthening women’s table tennis growth, it is hoped that the long-term benefits of a gender balanced sport community and general society is recognised. In addition, the current investments also aim to ensure that female participants have well-designed career pathways in all their roles, from players to community leaders.