Table Tennis Growth in Solomon Islands!
April 8, 2022
Solomon Islands Table Tennis Federation (SITTF) had a successful year in 2021. From not having any table tennis tournaments on the island in 2020, they started to develop and host table tennis tournaments all over the Solomon Islands.
We spoke to Rob Dorovolomo from SITTF who said “I am not sure if any tournament happened in 2020, none that I’ve heard of. In my opinion, the tournaments started to happen in 2021 due to the upcoming Pacific Games that will happen in 2023 and because SITTF AGM was also in 2021 for a new Executive board.”
In 2021 the tournaments started again. The SITTF had six big events which were:
- SITTF Para-Activities was sponsored by ITTF-Oceania and on average there were 25 to 30 participants per week at each school and organisation.
The program ran for 8 weeks, from 4th October to 29th November 2021, with a fun day during the last week of the activity. Three schools/organisations were selected for the program: Red Cross School, Bethesda Vocational School and People with Disability Solomon Islands. Each school/organisation had two-hour sessions once per week. For the SITTF Para-Activities project, Rob Dorovolomo was the Project Leader, Gary Nuopula was Head Coach and Jean Berry & Ian Sida were assistant coaches. During the table tennis sessions, they showed basic table tennis techniques and fun activities such as ball bouncing challenges. They had enough table tennis bats and balls for everyone, but the only problem was that each school had one table each and 25 to 30 students per session. Unfortunately, “The Fun day” was canceled due to the unrest in the Solomon Islands.
- Development Program in Schools. This program was sponsored by the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) and SITTF.
In each school, they averaged 30 to 40 students per school. The program ran for the first half of the school year, which covered two school terms and only targeted primary schools. Gary Nuopula, table tennis Development Officer was Coordinating the program and Rob Drovolomo assisted him. The schools that were visited were: Lunga Primary school, Ben’s Creek Primary School, Chung Wah Primary School, Coronations Primary School and Mbokona Primary School. Those schools were chosen because SITTF left tables there in 2016. The activities consisted of basic technical skills and theory to help students understand.
- National Secondary School Games (NSSG) were sponsored by the Solomon Islands Government through the National Sports Council. There were 22 secondary schools, 81 students and 14 officials.
The NSSG table tennis ran over six days and included Teams and Singles events. There were a total of 8 secondary schools from the province and 14 teams within Honiara city. Notable events were: Adua Secondary (Girls) coming second (the only provincial school that managed to get a medal during the games), St Joseph Tenaru school made a clean sweep in the boy’s category and Betikama school for the girls.
- Provincial Talent Identification Tour (TID), sponsored by NOCSI and SITTF.
There were over 500 students and community members involved. Francis Manioru from NOCSI was the Project leader, Gary Nuopula and Rob Dorovolomo were SITTF representatives. The team consisted of six sports federations, of which table tennis was one of them. Four provinces were reached during the tour: Central Island, Malaita, Western and Choiseul. During the Provincial Talent Identification tour, they introduced table tennis and the other sports to a wider audience in the provinces, identified potential table tennis athletes in the province, established provincial table tennis associations and assisted with equipment such as table tennis balls and bats.
- Isabel Province Games was sponsored by Isabel Provincial Government and organised by Rob Dorovolomo and Gary Nuopula.
There were a total of 35 males and 20 females who participated in Men’s and Women’s Singles, Doubles and Teams events. The players had an opportunity to compete for four days and try to fight for the winner’s titles.
- SITTF High Performance (HP) Training was sponsored by ITTF-Oceania.
The training had 4 Para-athletes, 4 Senior Players, 6 Junior players and 3 Coaches. This high-performance training was supposed to last for four days, but unfortunately, they had to cancel it after the first day of the program, because of the unrest in the Solomon Islands. Although the SITTF will try to conduct training again in 2022.
We asked Rob Dorovolomo what are SITTF plans for 2022. Rob said that the National Championship will be in Honiara City and will be held around July. Also, there are talks of a Solomon Games that will happen this year, but that is not confirmed yet. At the moment they are working on an umpiring course for table tennis and some more Talent Identification Tour tours to the provinces. The development school programs will continue once school begins.
To promote and improve the table tennis level across the Solomon Islands, Rob mentioned that the country needs top-class table tennis coaches who could get them to another level. The players from the Solomon Islands have the drive and the motivation, but they need extra support. Regular tournaments and joining the ITTF-Oceania Tour would be an amazing experience for Solomon Islands athletes. At the moment the SITTF have five athletes who can compete at a high level: three male and two female. The Para team, they have Noela Olo (standing female) and Shadrack Timothy (seated male) as well as many other potential young talented players that are eager to join.
ITTF-Oceania would like to say thank you to Rob Dorovolomo who is one of the leading players in the Solomon Islands and also the General Secretary of the Solomon Islands Table Tennis Federation. Thank you SITTF for making an enormous difference in table tennis throughout Solomons island. We are excited about the upcoming events and look forward to seeing the continued growth of table tennis.