Sports Talk | Table Tennis
Monday, December 17, 2018
Written by John Lea, Executive Director Table Tennis NZ
What a momentous year for Bay of Plenty table tennis, hosting Table Tennis New Zealand (TTNZ) Nationals for the first time since 1976! Entries in both seniors and juniors, teams and individuals, were the highest in recent years. The 324 players came from 16 regional associations, New Caledonia, Australia, Germany and United States.
Favourites Teng Teng Liu and Tianyi Li completed a hat-trick of titles, winning open singles, doubles and mixed doubles, and retaining their titles. Auckland triumphed in teams events, but Waitemata provided spirited opposition in the men’s final. A few weeks prior, Teng Teng won the men’s open singles at the Bay of Plenty Open which had its strongest fields in memory.
Bay of Plenty featured very well in the men’s event. Our trio of Shane Laugesen, Paul Innes and Matt Hetherington finished fourth in open grade and challenged the favoured teams. Shane and Paul were both on the comeback trail after illustrious earlier careers. Matt returned home from his media role with USA table tennis and provided great publicity and won the men’s doubles with Teng Teng.
Tauranga junior Max Henderson added his name to the Bay of Plenty honours board by taking out the Under 15 boys’ doubles title in conjunction with regular partner Finn Holden from Southland. Max was subsequently named TTNZ Junior of the Year. Kadia Keller-Rice added to her sizeable trophy cabinet with a win in the over 45 women’s doubles. Later, Welcome Bay veteran Victor Kamizona retained his New Zealand para nationals singles title.
We are grateful to have received sport Bay of Plenty, BayTrust CoachForce and Skilled Deliverers funding for 2019, allowing more grassroots work with school players, and training adults to deliver quality opportunities to all players. Projects, events and courses will be promoted in advance of hosting both New Zealand Secondary Schools Champs and AIMS Games in Tauranga in early September. We expect good entries from local schools given the huge recent growth. Events and training sessions are listed on the Tauranga Table Tennis website: tabletennistauranga.com
Bay of Plenty also hosts NZ Veterans Champs and Test Match vs Australia at Easter and the National Country Clubs champs, both at Taupo Events Centre.
In preparation for hosting these important events we are pleased to be hosting a basic umpiring course and refereeing course from 15 to 17 February in Tauranga. Run by international referee Stephen Gillespie from Australia, it will be an important learning experience on controversial rules and standard protocols for competitive table tennis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to enrol.
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