ITTF-Oceania is preparing for a hopeful rebound across the region for table tennis, and is looking to get 2021 off on the right foot. Development activities have become more of a focus across the past year, with the absence of domestic and international competition. This is helped lay some strong foundations, particularly with the Smash Down Barriers program in the Pacific and a number of positive programs being undertaken by National Associations in New Zealand and Australia.
While unfortunately the 2021 Olympic Qualification event had to be cancelled out of safety and travel restriction concerns, the organisation is consulting with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) to produce the fairest criteria to move forward with Olympic nominations in the region.
The official date for the ITTF-Oceania Annual General Meeting (AGM) has been set for Saturday 22 May, and two Management Committee positions are up for nomination.
Alongside these operational governance activities, the organisation has also reformed the regional ITTF-Oceania Athletes Commission. The Commission comprises of five members from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tahiti, who have a mixture of backgrounds and playing experiences.
The Commission recently appointed Australian Para National Champion and Tokyo Paralympic hopeful, Trevor Hirth, a current member of the ITTF Athletes Commission, as Chair of the Continental Commission.
Hirth has launched into the role with great enthusiasm, and had this to say; “Now is more important than ever to listen to the voice of the athletes. Leading out of uncertain times, together we can further unite athletes from Oceania and gather momentum into the future.
“We look forward to improving opportunities and fairness for ITTF-Oceania athletes from domestic to global scale.
“By working together with the ITTF-Oceania Management Committee we understand that we can showcase Oceania as a world leader in social inclusion, integration and equality through table tennis.”
Further announcements on the 2021 Oceania and Oceania Junior Championship events are expected.