Spirit of sport, Australian Veteran Championships

Action from the 33rd Australian Veteran Championships (Photo: Leonie Whiteford)

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Staged at the Netball Centre in the Sydney Olympic Park, the 33rd Australian Veteran Championships were held recently from Saturday 15th to Saturday 22nd October.

Over 400 players competed in the men’s and women’s categories from over 30 years to over 80 years; notably players travelled from every state in Australia as well as from China, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, Vietnam and Wales.

Competing whilst also both building and renewing friendships was the order of proceedings, at an event superbly organised by Table Tennis New South Wales thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteers under the direction of Bev and Brian James.

Equally, the successful outcome was also made possible thanks to sponsors RBK and Mothernest, providers of provide premium quality health care products. Notably many of the players visited their well-stocked display looking for remedies and advice.

The event was supported by the New South Wales Government Sport and Recreation in addition to TableTennisWorld.com directed by Paul Pinkewich. The company sponsored the “Outstanding Player Award” in each category. San-Ei, manufacturers of high class equipment, fulfilled the role of the equipment suppliers.

An intense schedule was the order of proceedings with many fine performances witnessed; one of the most notable being from the trio of Joanne Shaw, Sarah Sandley and Joanna Roberts on duty for New Zealand in the over 40 age group. They won the women’s team title whilst finishing in the respective top three positions in the women’s singles event.

It is a result that makes me feel very old, very old indeed; all originate from England, all excelled in the cadet age group category. Sarah Sandley, the younger sister of England international Graham Sandley, like Joanna Roberts was safe and secure but I suspect both wish they had the talent with which Joanne Shaw was blessed.

Likewise in the over 50 age category, China’s Qiu Junfan remained unbeaten in both the men’s team and men’s singles events whilst for New South Wales, Wayne Heginbotham, Bill Robson and Peter Krigovsky combined to prove that team work counts. All lost to Qiu Junfang but united they emerged victorious.

Also it was family day, led by father Paul, who won the 1994 Oceania men’s singles title, the Langley family participated in a tournament that reflected the spirit of sport and the value of genuine friendship.

Matters concluded with Ted Davis was the Master of Ceremonies conducting the medal presentations.

He thanked all for their participation in particular in particular mentioning the Strathfield Council, Tony Houhlias from the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, David Mumford and James Ro from RBK alongside Peter Marriott, Will Goodier and Leonie Whiteford from Table Tennis Union.