Medallist in Taupo (left to right) Gary Williams Bei Zhang, Jo Shaw, Sarah Sandley (Photo: courtesy of Table Tennis New Zealand)
by Ian Marshall, Editor
Located in the heart of the North Island, the Taupo Events Centre was the venue for the recently concluded 2018 New Zealand Open Veteran Championships.
Proceeding commenced on Thursday 29th March and concluded on Monday 2nd April.
A notable name on the roll of honour was that of Joanne Shaw, she won the Women’s Singles titles in both the 40 to 49 years category and the 50 to 59 years category; now that makes me feel old, very old!
Joanne Shaw is from Yorkshire in England, the same county as myself; she excelled as a junior player, one of the most gifted you could ever wish to watch, left handed, her hand skills quite outstanding.
“I always try to play aggressive and play my own game and take the initiative, regardless of who I play. Overall it was really nice to play against a lot of players that I haven’t played against before, it adds to the challenge. Since it was my first full New Zealand Veteran tournament, obviously I am really happy with my performance and the overall wins. If you’d offered me those results before the tournament I’d have taken them! It couldn’t have worked out much better.” Joanne Shaw
Likewise, the name of Sarah Sandley attracts my attention; she was the silver medallist in Women’s Singles 40 to 49 years and bronze medallist in the 50 to 59 years category; like Joanne Shaw a player who enjoyed notable success as a junior. She is from north London and honed her skills at the Ellenborough Club, the same as 16 year old Denise Payet who recently gained a bronze medal in the Women’s Team event at the recent Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Matters directed by John Lea, Table Tennis New Zealand Executive Director, alongside Joachim Kusche, the Referee, and Dave Kilmister from the Taupo Club, a most successful tournament was staged in one of the country’s most attractive destinations. Taupo is a town on the shores of Lake Taupo, it is a popular tourist destination.
“Attendance was up on previous years with a good contingent from across the ditch, our Aussie friends! The Trans-Tasman Test Match was again played out in fierce competitive style, traditional gifts exchanged and finishing with light refreshments where old friendships renewed and new ones began. The Championships were enjoyed immensely by players, supporters and spectators with the event concluding with the social dinner evening. The local Taupo Club supporting the event with some extreme prizes enjoyed by recipients, including a bungee jump by well-known Aussie veteran Brian Berry and a 15,000 feet tandem skydive by several New Zealand competitors. Veteran table tennis is alive and strong in the land down under!” Chris Young (Office Administrator, Table Tennis New Zealand)
A total of 150 players competed; on duty to present the awards was Gary Williams, Chair of Table Tennis New Zealand.