It is going to be a hectic and potentially decisive time for many of the Victorian Institute of Sport’s table tennis athletes over the next six weeks.
Between the 2023 Oceania Para Championships in the Solomon Islands in late November and the Mixed World Team Cup in China in early December, 11 VIS athletes will be wearing green and gold, with some hoping to confirm a ticket to Paris in 2024.
Nine of the 15-strong Australian Para-table tennis team headed for the Oceania Championships hold VIS scholarships, including Yang Qian and Melissa Tapper who may meet in the class singles. Should either win the tournament a ticket to the Paris Paralympics will be theirs.
Tapper is seeking to reach her fourth Paralympic Games.
Similarly, VIS wheelchair athlete Chris Addis can secure qualification for Paris should he defeat team-mate Caleb Crowden and go on to win the Oceania title.
The Australian team will arrive in Honiara, where the championships will be held from November 17-20, with considerable expectations.
Australia finished second on the medal table in Tokyo 2020 and has the incredible experience and success of Yang, Ma Lin and Lina Lei to draw upon. Between them, the three Chinese-born Australians have won 12 Paralympic gold medals, including two in Tokyo when they represented Australia for the first time. All three prepare out of the VIS.
As do Xavier Dixon and Jian Fang Lay who have been selected to represent Australia in the Mixed Team World Cup in Chengdu, China, from December 4-10.
Australian team for the 2023 Oceania Para Championships
Sam Von Einem
Ma Lin (VIS)
Nathan Pellissier (VIS)
Jake Ballestrino (VIS)
Trevor Hirth (VIS)
Christopher Addis (VIS)
Qian Yang (VIS)
Melissa Tapper (VIS)
Lina Lei (VIS)
Danni Di Toro (VIS)
Australian Team for the Mixed Team World Cup
Xavier Dixon (VIS)
Jian Fang Lay (VIS)