New sport is put on the table

Back row, Special Olympics New Zealand central North Island regional sports coordinator Matt de Jardine, top left, athlete Ella Yarndley, Special Olympics Te Awamutu committee member Mel Coleman, Kurt Munn and Matthew Sloane. Front row, Brittany Edwards, Katie Townsend and Stevie Cook.

A potential new Special Olympics sporting code looks set to be served up in Te Awamutu.

With a membership of more than 30 athletes, Special Olympics Te Awamutu has a sole sport – swimming – under its umbrella.

Now discussions are underway between Te Awamutu representatives and the organisation’s governing body, Special Olympics New Zealand, as interest in adding table tennis as a second sport is gauged.

Special Olympics New Zealand Central North Island regional sports coordinator Matt de Jardine said in conjunction with Table Tennis New Zealand, he’s been organising table tennis sessions alongside other sports at schools like Te Awamutu College for about a year.

In that context, he said, the sport is proving popular – with about 20 students attending the sessions.

Additionally, when the Special Olympics National Summer Games were held in Hamilton last December, though not an official sport, table tennis was offered as a pastime in the athlete’s area in between events.

It was a hit there too, leading to further discussions about making table tennis a sport officially offered by Special Olympics Te Awamutu.

“As we’ve seen that popularity growing, it’s been about relaying that, and considering how, in a broader sense, it’s something we can look into,” de Jardine said.

“The community spirit at Special Olympics Te Awamutu is fantastic, everybody feels so welcome.

“When considering broadening our reach into the community by adding table tennis, it’s about seeing what lands, what works and is wanted in Te Awamutu – and then increasing the way in which we serve our community.”

Special Olympics Te Awamutu committee member Mel Coleman, who has been batting for having table tennis in town along other committee members, said a series of ‘give it a go’ days are being planned in Kihikihi to gauge community interest.

Supported by Table Tennis New Zealand and Kihikihi Table Tennis Club, the five-week programme will run at Kihikihi Town Hall in October and November.

All going well, Coleman said, those days will then give the Special Olympics Te Awamutu committee as a sense of direction regarding permanently facilitating table tennis.

More Recent Sports

Game on for Maestro Mark

Te Awamutu darts player Mark Cleaver has won a spot competing with the biggest names in darts. Cleaver, known as the maestro (because of his guitar playing) confirmed his place in the Hamilton event at…

Visitor’s claim win

Kihikihi Bowling Club started its “Winter Programme” last week with a very successful Presidents’ Birthday tournament. President Dave Barnett sponsored the event and playing conditions were perfect with a full field of entries and $1000…

It’s driving them mad…

To the uninitiated, they are rocks compared to normal golf balls. We are talking about range balls – thousands of them are placed on tees on driving ranges around the country every day by club…

Waipā star Kango for it

Waikato interest in the biggest event of Cambridge Raceway’s calendar tomorrow has been boosted following a late withdrawal. Kango, trained at Cambridge Raceway by Arna Donnelly, is a  late starter in the feature race following…