Table tennis boost

THE Fiji Table Tennis Association (FTTA) received a major boost when the Vodafone Fiji Foundation gave $5000 towards the Fiji Para table tennis program yesterday at the Fiji Table Tennis headquarters in Laucala Bay.

It also marked the World Table Tennis Fun day where kids from poor communities and special schools were present in activities organised by the FTTA.

FTTA president Anthony Ho said the gift marked a special day for the organisation and for the athletes involved.

He said it was a big step towards taking Para table tennis forward.

“We had started our Para program in 2009 but one of the big challenges we had was to encourage people with disabilities to come out and take part in sports especially in table tennis. We go out to special schools but now the big challenge is to bring them into regular table tennis clinics and part of this program we can use the money to outreach awareness,” Ho said.

“For the first time were are sending our disabled athletes overseas for events and training. We also eyeing the bigger picture towards the Pacific Games this year where for the first time its hosting Para table tennis events.”

In handing over the cheque to FTTA, manager broadband and data services for Vodafone Foundation Santosh Payal said the company was privileged to be involved in promoting the sport.

“We at Vodafone ATH foundation are happy to support Fiji Table Tennis and disabled athletes. As you might know that the FTTA is one of the longest serving sporting bodies that have been involved in promoting such events like this which makes us even more proud to join in hands with them,” Payal said.

Meanwhile the president of Spinal Injury Association, Mere Rodan said the sport made her feel relaxed and focused while playing.

“When I first joined the sport, I had to stretch out but now I have gotten used to it and table tennis really has made a difference in me,” Rodan said.

The FTTA has also organised a National Para Day which has been supported by the Australian Government under the Smash down Barriers Programme on May 6. This year’s Pacific Games will include four Para categories in table tennis.

Mere Rodan will accompany four other Para athletes from Fiji to take part in the four-day long International Table Tennis Oceania Parra Championship in Sydney. The team is to depart the country today for the championship.

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