ICV youth group with Australian Gold-Medalist David Powell and Melissa Tapper

The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) hosted its inaugural Amity Cup Table Tennis Championship on Friday 29 June at the ICV building in partnership with Table Tennis Victoria as they roll out a new training program to scout for budding new Victorian talent.

The 4-week table tennis training program from accredited coaches will end with a tournament to identify the champions who will then go on to represent each Islamic centre at the Amity Cup Finals which will be held in September.

The training program will be held across Melbourne which includes IREA iHub (Hoppers Crossing), AMSSA Centre (North Melbourne), UMMA Centre (Doncaster), Islamic Museum of Australia (Thornbury) and Australian Islamic Centre (Newport).

“We aim to identify centre champions, and make history by discovering star talent,” said Jazeer Nijamudeen who is hosting the event.

Eager to develop a new generation of table tennis champions, Australian Table Tennis CEO Dennis Makaling encouraged the importance of increasing engagement and participation of our state’s diverse community groups.

“The Muslim community falls within the category of Culturally Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD) and so we are hoping to target and advance our engagement with this community”, explained Dennis. Table Tennis Victoria’s State Development Officer Marie Karek who came to support the event said that she was encouraged to see young Muslims enthusiastic about the sport.

“Our aim tonight is to establish connections and engage with the Muslim Community in table tennis,” said Marie.

Australian Gold-Medalist David Powell and Melissa Tapper

Hosting the event, Jazeer Nijamudeen invited two extinguished table tennis players to demonstrate their skills.

Energising the audience with an incredible display of skill, Commonwealth Games Champions Melissa Tapper and David Powell played a quick game for the crowd.

There was an almost musical beat to the way the pin-pong hit the table as the pair held wide grins while maintaining perfect composure.

Eagerly watching the gold medalists, a young teenage girl called Souad exclaimed with excitement, “the technique was flawless, they made it look so easy.”

The Amity Cup has begun, contact your participating Masjids and Islamic centres to participate.

“It was amazing watching them play,” added Sayed,  another attendee.

Australian Champion Melissa Tapper spoke about her experience of completing the Paralympics, she then went on to represent Australia as the first non-Paralympic champion.

Achieving these pinnacles did not come without trials though.

Despite being born with brachial plexus injury in her arm, Melissa has never seen herself as having a disability. Her experiences completing with Paralympic champions overseas has taught her that the human body is capable of achieving absolutely anything.

“Traveling to these countries, (taught me) to remind myself how good we’ve got it, and I might not have had everything (because of my disability), but that just made me focus on how to be better with what I have,” she stated.

Young participants with Commonwealth Table Tennis Champions, as the Islamic Council of Victoria kicks off its inaugural Amity Cup Table Tennis Championship

Gold-medalist David Powell explained his arduous journey towards achieving his sporting success.

Discovering his love for the game at a young age, David found himself at crossroads between his passion for tennis and table tennis. However, ultimately he found himself drawn to table tennis. Being a full-time teacher and pursuing professional table tennis meant many long nights of training after work which was naturally very difficult.

He explained that his many defeats along the way were very painful. There were even times when the Olympics was on that he “couldn’t even turn on the TV”. But overall, table tennis taught him about perseverance and hard work. Nevertheless, he says he is encouraged to see the next generation of young guns.

To join in on the action of the Amity Cup, contact your participating Masjids and Islamic centres. We are looking for male and female aged 10-30, as we scout for our next Table Tennis champions in the making.

For more information contact ICV.