Fiji, a small island nation in the South Pacific, is not well known for its table tennis. They have fantastic rugby players and the country is far better known as a tropical tourist paradise. Therefore, the fact that Mr. Anthony Ho has just won the National Sporting Award `Fiji Sports Administrator of the Year' for his work as President of the Fiji Table Tennis Association is truly an amazing feat.
In the 1960's and 1970's table tennis had been quite popular sport on the beautiful Pacific island. However, by the late 1990's table tennis in Fiji was a vanishing sport. From the 70s to the 90s the National Table Tennis Association did very little to promote and develop the game within the country. However, when Mr. Anthony Ho, a former representative of the Fijian team, took over the sport earlier this decade things dramatically changed.
It has been a relatively fast rise to prominence for Anthony since the time he started to become actively involved in 2001. That said, the work done in such a short amount of time has been quite amazing. Anthony first recognised that competition was the key. He realized that by hosting regional and international competitions he could showcase the sport within his country. In 2002, Fiji hosted the Oceania Table Tennis Championships and then just one year later the country was host to the South Pacific games, both recognised as fantastic events in the Pacific.
It was then in 2005 when the ITTF's World Junior Circuit came to Fiji, their first ever international event, that Anthony and his dedicated team truly showcased table tennis. The event was a major success. It had an incredible amount of media coverage with full newspaper reports on a daily basis. Some of the best Japanese juniors from the world gave the locals a taste of professional table tennis and the event overall, especially for Oceania Standards, was extremely professionally organized, a true showcase for sport in the region.
However, it has not only been the hosting of events that are the reason for this award. Anthony has also been instrumental in setting up training academies and scholarships for young Fijian players. He is always on the look out for possibilities that can help the improvement of his young future stars. Last year two Fijian players trained in China for three weeks and there are now several players in Australia, preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
This has therefore helped lead to improved results. After failing to win a gold or silver medal at a Pacific Games for many years, they completely turned the table at last years South Pacific Games and walked away with two gold, one silver and on bronze medal, a massive improvement from just two years before.
To top it off Anthony is also on the Oceania Table Tennis Management Committee and is now an ITTF Board of Director. This is all on top of trying to run a successful Accounting Firm in Suva, Fiji. The reality is that his office is used half for his accounting practice and half for his table tennis matters, with his staff often complaining that they do more work for table tennis than for the business.
Congratulations Anthony and hopefully this is only the start of some wonderful things to come for Fiji Table Tennis.
Last Modified on 02/03/2006 23:28