The Oceania Table Tennis have been following up on the development of the Global Coronavirus pandemic and also keeping in close contact with the International Table Tennis Federation, which had deferred World Table Tennis and many other major events around the World.
ITTF-Oceania president Anthony Ho, says their programmes have got affected internationally, so within Oceania itself, there were upcoming events, including the qualifications for the 2020 Olympics that was scheduled for April being deferred.
“Depending on the lock-down, you know most of the countries have strict travel restrictions including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and quite a number of Pacific Island countries that were on lock-down, and of course travel to each country has been restricted,” Ho said.
“Likewise, in terms of many countries with the lock-down including Fiji, sporting activities including Table Tennis has stopped. New Zealand has just started reduced down to Level 2 now, so they’re all excited about going back to training.
Mr Ho adds that most of the countries have developed innovative ways to train during these trying times.
“I mean for athletes that have tables for the sport at home, so they have online activities with their coach et cetera, namely in New Zealand and in Australia,” he said.
“Other Pacific Island countries with the restrictions, I think Vanuatu had just started training again, for Tonga, their ongoing development programmes have just restarted, not too sure about the other countries because they haven’t reported any activities.
There were other events that were coming up says Ho, including the Australian Open which is one of the premier events that ITTF-Oceania host in the region has been cancelled and all the Oceania events including the Oceania AGM had been deferred hopefully by the end of this year.
“Yeah, currently the decision is to defer it till 2021, because they’re all important events for qualifications for major World events which include the World Championships and the World Cup.
“So in our continent, we have our qualifications to those big events that were scheduled around this time of the year and towards the end of the year so, all those have been rescheduled to early 2021.”
Ho says the year 2021 will have a very tight calendar especially for the Oceania Region, given the fact that the Pacific Mini Games and the Olympic Games are scheduled around the same time next year. He adds there will have to be a bit of rescheduling from all Oceania countries with hopes to enter these competitions smoothly.