Some of the New Zealand’s best table tennis players will descend on Hamilton this weekend when Waikato Table Tennis Association hosts the Northern Region Teams Championships.
The association has a long-term tenancy with the Council at Edgecumbe Park, where it has been based for more than 20 years. The association recently fundraised to invest in the facility, says President Mark Caunter.
“Over the last few years the Waikato Table Tennis Association has put a lot of work into upgrading the stadium,” Mr Caunter says.
“We have improved the lighting and had sports flooring laid in the stadium. As a result, we now have one of the best table tennis venues in the country and are starting to attract some high level national and regional events.”
That’s reflected with the Queen’s Birthday Weekend tournament, which will draw teams from Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, North Shore and Counties-Manukau to join Waikato to compete for the Northern region Teams titles. During the team contests players compete in format comprising of both singles and doubles.
Competition days will start at 9am and run through until the evening, featuring more than 100 players who in some instances will play back-to-back matches over the course of several hours. Entry is free for spectators.
“Table tennis is one of those few sports that can be played equally by 7 and 80 year olds, sometimes competing in the same events,” Mr Caunter says.
The club welcomes new players: “We have a wide range of levels playing in the club, and there are coaching sessions for those wanting to develop their game, but the emphasis is always on having fun.”
The Northern Region Teams Championships is the first of two major tournaments the association will hold through the winter. Mr Caunter says the association’s premier event is the Waikato Open, which will be held on the 3 and 4 August at the stadium.
“This attracts players from around the country and is always hotly contested. For those wanting to see table tennis played at a high level, this is a must-see event.”