City’s grand slam event

EX­CLU­SIVE: Gee­long se­cures in­ter­na­tional ta­ble ten­nis tour­na­ment for three years

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - HAR­RI­SON TIPPET

GEE­LONG will serve up Aus­tralia’s top in­ter­na­tional ta­ble ten­nis event for the next three years, the State Gov­ern­ment is set to an­nounce to­day.

State Sports Min­is­ter and mem­ber for Lara John Eren re­vealed the re­gional cen­tre had se­cured host­ing rights for the In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion (ITTF) World Tour Aus­tralian Open from 2018 to 2020.

The July 2018 event is ex­pected to draw about 200 of the world’s top play­ers from more than 20 coun­tries play­ing for more than $400,000 in prize money, with more than 100 mil­lion broad­cast view­ers ex­pected in China alone.

The event — to be held at the Gee­long Arena — is the lat­est coup for Gee­long’s bulging events cal­en­dar, Mr Eren said.

“The Aus­tralian Open of Ta­ble Ten­nis is a ma­jor draw­card on our en­vi­able sport­ing cal­en­dar — shin­ing the in­ter­na­tional spot­light on Gee­long and at­tract­ing more vis­i­tors to our re­gion,” he said.

“Our Aussies are in great shape ahead of the grand slam of ta­ble ten­nis with the likes of Wade Townsend, Melissa Tap­per and their team mates. We wish them all the best come July.”

Wade Townsend, cur­rently ranked num­ber six in Aus­tralia, said the event would at­tract the best play­ers in the world, in­clud­ing the Chi­nese play­ers — the “rock stars” of their na­tion’s ath­letes.

“This event, it’s a plat­inum tour event, so ba­si­cally it’s a grand slam of ta­ble ten­nis on the world tour,” Wade said. “To have it in Gee­long, let alone Aus­tralia, is a big thing.”

“We’ll def­i­nitely get the best play­ers in the world com­ing for it, be­cause it’s got the sec­ond most prize money on tour and it will have mas­sive world rank­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, so ev­ery­one’s gonna be here.”

Wade also said Aus­tralian play­ers were mov­ing up in the world rank­ings, largely dom­i­nated by Asian and Euro­pean play­ers.

The event is ex­pected to at­tract thou­sands of spec­ta­tors to the re­gion, pro­vid­ing both jobs and busi­ness ben­e­fits.

Mr Eren said the event had been se­cured through fund­ing from the Re­gional Events Fund, which also sup­ports the Fes­ti­val of Sails, Queen­scliff Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and the Gee­long Re­vival Mo­tor­ing Fes­ti­val.

“We’re proud to call the Aus­tralian Open of Ta­ble Ten­nis home — pro­vid­ing fans with an­other rea­son to travel to Gee­long and give our lo­cal busi­nesses and econ­omy a real boost,” Gee­long state La­bor MP Chris­tine Couzens said.

The Aus­tralian Open of Ta­ble Ten­nis will host two com­mu­nity days on July 26-27, to en­gage with pri­mary school kids and peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity.

Pic­ture: ALI­SON WYND

AD­VAN­TAGE: Sports Min­is­ter John Eren and star Aussie ta­ble ten­nis player Wade Townsend in Gee­long yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.