A few weeks ago, on Tuesday the 6th of March, 600 year five and six primary school students from the Wellington region attended the 9th Annual Pelorus Trust Stadium Sports Festival at Westpac Stadium. Thanks to coach Stephen Hirst and helpers (Rob Chung is in a picture below) table tennis was be one of the 18 sports involved.
Organised by Sport Wellington, the annual Pelorus Trust Stadium Sports Festival aims to expose primary school children to a variety of different sports. This year 54 schools applied to attend the event, of which only 20 spots were available. Given the delicate weather requirements of table tennis, outdoors was ruled out but thanks to Jamie Milne at Sport Wellington a place for table tennis was found within the concourse area (along with a couple of other similarly weather-sensitive sports).
While no doubt Stephen & co were run ragged by the end of the day, he reported the day as a great success and well worth the effort. They were able to distribute hundreds of leaflets listing the Wellington junior clubs to students and teachers and interest was high.
One of the main hurdles was how to get tables from the Newtown stadium out to the Westpac stadium and back. Especially given that the Donic tables we have there need to be transported upright and in one piece. We owe many thanks to Coolmoves who were able to very professionally move eight tables to and from the Westpac stadium! Without Coolmoves we could not have been there.
The age range here parallels the primary/intermediate & junior club coaching program that Table Tennis Wellington has also been running with thanks to Pub Charity support. Stephen Hirst is also the coach for this program and has been able to reach many schools and junior clubs in the Wellington area. Programs like this and the stadium event help build the grass-roots base and feed into the junior clubs.