A history-making decision by Table Tennis Australia Ltd. (TTA) will see leading Para-table tennis players sharing the stage with their able-bodied peers at the National Table Tennis Championships next April.
For the first time, TTA will host the National Senior & Youth Championships and the National Para Table Tennis Championships together in Brisbane during a nine-day table tennis extravaganza.
TTA Chief Executive Officer Scott Houston said that the decision was ultimately an easy one, given the growing strength of Para-table tennis in Australia.
“Combining the National Para Table Tennis Championships and the National Senior & Youth Championships made sense from every perspective,” Houston said.
“It aligns fully with our Strategic Plan values of ‘inclusive’, ‘collaborate’, ‘creative’ and ‘courageous’, and especially our Strategic Plan priorities around enhancing performance and profile.
“It will create more opportunities for the coverage and promotion of our sport, especially Para-table tennis, than could ever be achieved by hosting separate events, with exposure outside of a major international tournament at an all-time high.
“Most importantly, though, it is simply the right thing to do.”
Lynne Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Paralympics Australia, said that the decision, timely in terms of the spotlight that is currently shining on Paralympic sport in Australia, is one which she hopes will be observed by other national sporting organisations.
“Paralympic sport is enjoying a really powerful era here in Australia, and the decision taken by Table Tennis Australia to integrate the two events is an extension of this,” Anderson said.
“On behalf of Paralympics Australia, I would like to congratulate and thank Chief Executive Officer Scott Houston, and the Table Tennis Australia Board more broadly, for recognising the incredible spectacle of Paralympic sport for what it is, and encourage other national federations to seriously consider the wow factor that our athletes can bring to their next National Championships.
“I look forward to enjoying what is sure to be a brilliant event.”
The National Senior & Youth and Para Table Tennis Championships will be held at Brisbane Table Tennis Association in Queensland from 10-18 April.
By Lauren Robertson, Paralympics Australia