Table Tennis in the Pacific region has taken centre stage, with developmental activities in the Solomon Islands, competition in Tahiti, and Wallis and Futuna players traveling to France to raise their game in some of the world’s most professional training environments.
The National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands launched a new development initiative in preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games, which has seen Development Officer, Gary Nuopula, and national player, Rob Dorovolomo, traveling to schools across the Solomon Islands to lead table tennis sessions.
The pair spent three days in Tulagi Central Province before heading to Auki and Ambu, where they have conducted training sessions in both primary and secondary schools. The efforts are part of a multi-sport initiative which is helping to identify talent and promote sport and also strengthening the reach of table tennis.
Tahiti, meanwhile, hosted the Top 12 Youth Open 2021 tournament from May 1 to 2 with Arii Meyer taking the honours among a field of tough opposition.
Then Just a week later – on May 7 to 8 – it was the Men’s and Women’s Top 12 Championships, bringing the best athletes to the field of competition. Multiple current and former National Team players took part, with Alize Belrose claiming the Men’s Singles title and Heimoe Wong defending her Women’s Singles crown.
It has been a great positive to see a high level event like this returning to the spotlight, while many competitions around the globe are still unable to take place.
While the sport in the Pacific has been blossoming, for three young table tennis champions from Wallis and Futuna, a great opportunity lies ahead. Emmanuelle Puakavase, Nau Soane and Savea Sea will join four of their national kinsmen in one of Europe’s most prestigious table tennis clubs.
GVHTT Hennebont, one of France’s leading table tennis league clubs, will be the home for the young players as they look to chase their table tennis dreams and goals.
Hennebont were crowned French National League Champions in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, later crowned Champions of the European Cup in 2019. The club has held many of the world’s top players in its ranks and provides an exceptional and professional training environment.
It’s been an exciting month for table tennis in Oceania, and brilliant to see the incredible work of those dedicated to improving the sport from coaches, to development officers, volunteers and organisers alike. We look forward to seeing what 2021 brings as table tennis continues on its strong comeback.