Batting for a new sport

Hannah McFarlane at the table tennis ‘have a go’ day in Kihikihi on Monday. Photo: Jeremy Smith

An inaugural open day has served up a winner – and the community appears to be rallying around the idea of adding a potential new Special Olympics sporting code in Te Awamutu.

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

But, just 24 hours after Special Olympics Te Awamutu held one of its biggest annual swim meets to date at Livingstone Aquatic Centre on Sunday, the first of five weekly ‘have a go’ days aimed at gauging interest in adding table tennis as a second sport was held at the Kihikihi Town Hall on Monday.

The News first reported in August that the idea was being batted around.

And, a full roster of 15 athletes – and 10 support staff – tried their hand at the sport this week.

Waikato Table Tennis coach Mark Page ran the evening, facilitated by Special Olympics Te Awamutu committee member Mel Coleman and supported by the organisation’s governing body, Special Olympics New Zealand, Table Tennis New Zealand and Kihikihi Table Tennis Club.

Mel told The News she was delighted with the level of interest shown.

“It’s wonderful seeing everyone having so much fun, that’s why we do what we do. Such great friendships are made too, which really does impact the athletes’ lives.”

Kihikihi Table Tennis Club president Hyrum Sunnex described the day as “next level” as he surveyed the action taking place in the hall.

“How cool is this?” he remarked to The News.

The second of the four remaining have a go days is scheduled for the Monday following Labour Weekend.

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