Sport Bay of Plenty

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SportsTalk: Para table tennis programme to launch

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


The BOP Table Tennis Association and Parafed Bay of Plenty are working together to provide the opportunity for people to get involved in Para table tennis in Tauranga, with a vision for future expansion in the region.

John Lea from the BOP Table Tennis Association is involved with the development of Para table tennis and says the Smash Down Barriers programme has already helped many Pacific Islanders with a disability to learn table tennis. Some islands had few opportunities for disabled persons to participate in regular, organised sport – but not now, thanks to the Oceania Table Tennis Federation!

Assisting the programme is NZ Girls’ Table Tennis Coach Jessica Macaskill from Rotorua, who visited Tonga to help develop their National Sports Structure. The ITTF Level One Coaching Course Presenter noted the most popular part of her five-day course there was the Para table tennis section.

In December, Manurewa hosted an Oceania Para table tennis training camp, followed by the NZ Para table tennis championships. Among the competitors was Victor Kamizona from Welcome Bay and National Para Coach John Tuki, formerly from Papamoa.

An interesting visitor was Mere Roden, the 2016 Fiji Sportswoman of the year. Mere, who only took up table tennis in 2014, was Fiji’s flagbearer at the Rio Paralympics. This truly inspirational character did it all from her wheelchair!


The BOP Table Tennis Association wants to provide similar opportunities to local people with disabilities. Table Tennis Tauranga has booked extra hours at Memorial Hall on Friday afternoons and with support from Parafed BOP they hope to introduce Para table tennis to many newcomers.

We are excited about this opportunity and I’m very keen to work alongside BOP Table Tennis Association to make this happen. We introduced Boccia back into the Bay earlier this year as a new programme, and now with table tennis we are continuing to develop the sporting opportunities we can offer for physically disabled people.

If anyone would like to be involved with the Smash Down Barriers Table Tennis Programme, please contact me, your local Parafed Sport Development Officer, on, or the Secretary of the BOP Table Tennis Association, John Lea, on

By visiting the Parafed Bay of Plenty Website ‘Sports’ tab, you can also see all of the sports we are either currently offering or are part of our vision to be available locally in the near future.

Click here for full details.

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