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Dinyar Irani: Bringing Table Tennis To The Masses From His Lounge At Home

Dinyar Irani – Auckland Table Tennis Association Development Coach – is releasing a series of You Tube videos entitled the ATTA Stay Home Table Tennis Challenge. The Challenge is a novel initiative to engage with the community and encourage physical activity during New Zealand’s Alert Level 4 lock-down.

Irani, 23, is a Persian born Kiwi who moved to New Zealand with his family at the age of 4 years. He was first exposed to table tennis as a student at Farm Cove Intermediate and competed against all-comers on outdoor table tennis tables in the school yard. From those humble beginnings Irani progressed to the heights of table tennis in New Zealand, with the pinnacle being representing the New Zealand men’s team at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Sweden.

Irani says “I enjoy training and competing in table tennis tournaments myself, but what I have realised is that I enjoy giving back to the game even more”. He goes on to say “helping other people achieve their goals and watching them improve makes me feel like I am making a difference. Everyone learns differently and can develop a unique style of play - and I find it very fulfilling to help think of different ways I can help people take their game to the next level.”

Irani is creating the Challenge to “provide a way for people to stay physically active while at home, bring families closer together by helping each other to learn a new skill together in a fun environment, and to demonstrate how you don’t need a table in order to improve your table tennis skills - there is so much that can be learnt and practiced with just a bat and ball.” During the Challenge, Irani explains to participants how they can take part by utilising common household items such as a frying pan as a bat, and a tennis ball for the ball.

Irani’s enthusiasm and infectious positivity is witnessed in each Challenge video. Irani says his passion stems from the fact that “table tennis a sport for life. Once people develop consistent basic shots, they begin to have longer and more creative rallies and that is when I believe they see the positive impacts that table tennis can bring into their life”.

Irani is releasing one You Tube video each day at 12.00pm NZT with catchy titles such as Krabby Batty, Wicked Wall Whacks, and Bendy Backhands. The Challenge is scheduled to run for 30 days. Sixteen Challenge videos have been released to date and the response from fellow table tennis associations, schools, and contacts within Oceania has been very positive.

Participants are encouraged to take part in the challenges at their own residence, video themselves completing the challenge, and upload their own videos to social media. All participants who participate in at least one challenge go in the draw to win prizes from the Association. A link to the “ATTA Stay Home Table Tennis Challenge: Day 1/30 (Focused Forehands)” is copied below for your information:

The Auckland Table Tennis Association exists to facilitate participation in table tennis in the Central and Eastern Auckland geographic region, and to foster the growth of the sport in Auckland and, ultimately, nationally. New Zealand’s current priority is slowing the spread of COVID-19. The Auckland table tennis stadium, located in Epsom, Auckland, closed when New Zealand entered Alert Level 3. New Zealand is now at Alert Level 4 which means that travel is restricted, all non-essential businesses have staff working remotely or on leave, and students are on school holiday.

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