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Sports Talk: Bay of Plenty Table Tennis

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The table tennis community in Bay of Plenty is abuzz with several big events hosted locally in coming weeks and many leading players visiting Tauranga.

AIMS Games started Sunday 9th September with an event for players with a disability, featuring a robot-skills competition. Table Tennis New Zealand also offered a Community Leader Coaching Course, teaching grassroots delivery of table tennis activities and skills.

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AIMS Games teams events started Monday, with 32 boys’ teams and 16 girls’ teams competing for medals. Rototuna High School from Hamilton and Somerville Intermediate from Auckland are strong contenders for more titles.

There are 126 boys and 53 girls entered in the singles and doubles events on Wednesday and Thursday, with semi-finals and finals held Friday September 14. Spectators can expect a tussle between the girls’ national squad quartet of Joanna Yang and Minette Whitehead from Waikato, Takaimaania Ngata-Henare from Northland and Angela Zhang from Auckland. The favoured boys are Alex Liu and Leo Mamedov from Auckland, but Johnny Bae from Canterbury may push them.

The Bay of Plenty Open follows AIMS, at Memorial Hall on Saturday and Sunday 15-16 September. NZ Representative entrants include national number one, Teng Teng Liu, the impressive Dean Shu and Dinyar Irani. Armindeep Singh and Natalie Paterson head the women’s entries.

The inaugural NZ Teachers Games table tennis event runs on 3rd October and is a great opportunity to form new connections for table tennis.

QEYC hosts the premier event of 2018, the TTNZ Senior and Junior Nationals, from 6-13th October, 40 years since it was last hosted in Tauranga. Large fields are expected for both teams and individual’s events. Amongst overseas visitors are leading Australian Junior, Rohan Dhooria, experienced Sri Lankan representative Chalitha Ranjana, and a group from New Caledonia.

Bay of Plenty hopes to field teams in all grades, and looks forward to the return of Matt Hetherington to Tauranga, holidaying from his media role with USA Table Tennis, and Paul Innes and Shane Laugesen back from long breaks off the New Zealand scene. Big things are expected from Max Henderson after strong displays for Tauranga Boys High at NZ Secondary Schools champs and BOP Schools champs recently.

Spectators are welcomed at all upcoming events, and offers of volunteer assistance will be well received. A training session for umpires and a junior umpire competition will both be promoted at the National Championships. All enquiries to ttnzed@xtra.co.nz

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