National table tennis championships canceled

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Our local table tennis stars suffered another setback this week.

By Allan Clarke

Rockhampton’s representative table tennis players suffered yet another setback this week when the president of Table Tennis Australia informed players who were to represent their states and territories that all of the national championships due towards the end of this year had now been canceled due to the lingering effects of the Covid.

What would have been a huge carnival in Caloundra during Australia’s annual senior, youth, junior and para championships – which had been postponed from early July to mid-December – has been scrapped altogether for the second year in a row.

Locals Joel Coughlan, Matthew Pettett, Kelsey Le Maistre, Matthew and Emily Steffen, Nick Green and Colte and Cruz Nolan were to represent Queensland in various sections and they are all extremely disappointed.

Rockhampton was also due to have two coaches, Pam Clarke and Erica Nolan, at this event and they will now have to look to other high-level mentoring opportunities next year.

Australian veterans’ annual titles were also canceled after being postponed to a date to be determined from the scheduled time slot in early October in Darwin.

Ann-Louise Stewart and Pam Clarke, both of whom were selected to state squads after their performances in the state’s biggest veterans titles in July at Downey Park Stadium in Brisbane, join a big list very disappointed players from Queensland.

Rockhampton’s Australian representative at the Tokyo Paralympic Games is due to return home late this week after a two-week quarantine in Sydney. His teammates are all eager to see, and possibly touch, the silver medal he won for Australia in the 9-10 class team event in Tokyo.

With major national carnivals no longer on the agenda this year, local table tennis players still have a few activities they look forward to participating in.

The closed city titles are on hold for a few weeks and the annual grudge match against Bundaberg for the Cree Shield is currently being planned between the two clubs with an early date in November looking likely.

A new season of matches will begin for open-level players on October 5 and club nights will continue on Monday from 7:30 p.m. People of all levels and ages, including social actors, are welcome. This session provides a great opportunity for people to try light to moderate exercise that also improves hand-eye coordination.

Young people who want to start playing the sport can attend the regular junior training sessions which start again after school holidays on Thursdays between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Leichhardt Park Center at 157 Campbell Street, south side. Equipment is available for beginners and qualified training staff are always available to teach the basics of the sport.

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