Nuopula wins first Oceania Tour points but could miss the next stop.
By Taromane Martin
AFTER finishing the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Oceania Tour in Nukualofa, Tonga with a bronze medal, local table tennis player Gary Nuopula is eying the third tour in Suva in September.
The next Oceania Tour will be held in Gold Coast, Australia from August 25-26 but Nuopula says he will wait for the third tour in Suva in September due to lack of financial support for next month.
“Unfortunately my budget is only enough to compete in Suva. If NOCSI or federation help me financially then I will go to Gold Coast to compete, if not then it will be Fiji.
The Oceania ITTF had said in a statement that the tour is a new pathway for athletes in the region to get points and secure their tickets to compete at next year’s ITTF Oceania Cup.
“With six stops across the continent and over AU$18,000 (SBD$104,130.45) in prize money up for grabs, the ITTF-Oceania Tour is a brand new step forward for table tennis in the region
“Points won at tour events will directly affect the renewed ITTF-Oceania Cup Points List, with the top eight athletes earning the right to compete at the 2019 ITTF-Oceania Cup,” ITTF Oceania said in a statement.
He told SunSPORTS he was pleased with his first points from the tour and looks forward for the next Oceania Tour in August.
“This is the first tour. Five more Oceania Tours are yet to come and I’m looking for my next Oceania tour in September which will be in Suva,” he said.
“The more I attend and play in the finals, the more points I get and this will qualify me to play in the ITTF Oceania Cup next year.
“And the Champion of ITTF Oceania cup will be representing Oceania at the World Cup. I’m very pleased with the matches that I played.
“I want to thank my family back home and relatives in Tonga for supporting me, without them, I won’t make it this far,” he said.
Nuopula who was knocked out by Fijian Vicky Wu in the quarterfinals has 150 points but is likely to miss points if he misses Gold Coast tour.
Meanwhile the 2018 ITTF-Oceania Tour will head to Australia (Gold Coast) 25-26 August to Fiji (Suva) 8-9 September.
From Suva it will head to Tahiti (Papeete) 3-4 November then to New Zealand (Christchurch) from 10-11 November with the final stop at Vanuatu (Port Vila) 9-10 February 2019.