‘Smash Down Barriers’ to open doors in Oceania

The programme was aimed to make table tennis an inclusive sport for both able-bodied and para-athletes, especially in Kiribati. 29 Aug 2015
Two men in wheelchairs playing table tennis

A para-table tennis competition was held Kiribati as part of "Smash Down Barriers," a programme that took place in the Oceania region.

ⒸOceania Paralympic Committee

The para-table tennis programme “Smash Down Barriers” was staged in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati between 10-13 August and has accelerated the interest of para-sport in the region.

Ran by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and facilitated by Oceania Para-Table Tennis Development Officer Christian Holtz, the programme ran with the hopes of utilising table tennis to develop an inclusive society with both able-bodied and para-sports – and hopefully grow para-sport in the region.

Holtz had been working to develop an integrated approach to both training and competition opportunities. The result has seen a growth of interest in table tennis across the community and allowed an opportunity for athletes with impairments to engage in sporting programmes.

President of the Oceania Paralympic Committee Paul Bird visited Kiribati to see the programme, and the experience encouraged him to plan another visit in February 2016 to see progress in para-sport from the event.

The Oceania Paralympic Committee currently consists of eight member nations: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.