The TTTA-Academy problem
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Letter to the annual general meeting at TTQ, with links to poof:
North Ward, March 9 2011.

To the TTQ Annual General Meeting,
Table Tennis Queensland

The Academy - TTTA problem: The lack of cooperation and use of discriminatory actions.

Gary Walmsley, who is the Development Manager for Townsville Table Tennis Associations (TTTA) and also the club coach said in a phone conversation with me that his association did not want another association or club in Townsville besides their association; That this was both his own and the TTTA committee's point of view. This statement is of course very disappointing for the Academy - and it must of course also be very disappointing for TTQ; that has as goal to promote the sport of table tennis! But it explains the lack of co-operation the Academy has been met with since it was established and even episodes of hostilities.
Here are some samples showing some of the negativity we have been met with since we established the Academy in December 2010:
- As soon as we announced the establishment of the Academy then TTTA made a bye-law telling that you had to be a primary registered member to play in their Fixtures. The TTQ Board has determined that this bylaw is not in the best interests of the development of the sport of table tennis in Townsville and have written to TTTA asking them to consider amending this bylaw. TTTA still do have this by-law and have been telling TTQ that they will not be changing it.
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- when Olav and me went to sign up with TTTA early in the year 2011, to be members of both associations, we were told by the President and the Secretary that it would be no use for us to be members of TTTA because all sessions in the hall were now strictly club coaching sessions and I would not be allowed to coach Olav. Everybody would also have to follow the coaching programs and to just have a hit with other players was not allowed. They broke this regulation the same day we were informed about it - and it is no secret that there have been members having a hit at all sessions and also at other times and days than set in the TTTA practising schedule.
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- As soon as the Academy was announced the President of TTTA sent out e-mails through the Secretary to all members creating doubt about the legibility of the Academy with worlds like: "The Academy's $10 membership fee does not even cover the TTQ and TTA component. So, I don't know how he will cover his members without player insurance and what will become of the money. I do not know how TTQ will see this if the Academy member fee is not paid as required in the TTQ By laws". His statements were highly inflammatory, bringing into question the Academy's integrity. Both he and the Secretary should know the regulations when it comes to run an association - and they could easily have asked TTQ or me if there were and questions concerning the establishment of the Academy!
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- A senior player who regularly has contact with many of the players and parents at TTTA has told me that the players/members of TTTA have been told not to practise with Olav or get associated with the Academy-players or its activities. I have not asked the TTTA-players myself about this but quite a number of them have promised to have a hit with Olav but they have never turned up!
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- The Academy wanted to start a team league for our area to have more activities for the keen players but after getting comments that TTTA might not show a positive attitude we decided to start first be inviting them to invited TTTA to what we called "Stockland Challenge" - a friendly team event between the two associations, to be played in front of the shopping centre's stage on Thursday February 24 and Thursday March 3. TTTA declined to take part. Luckily I managed to get an "Adventist Team" to play but it was not the way it was meant to be.
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- After TTTA declined to take part in the Stockland event then I sent then an e-mail saying: "When I established Table Tennis Academy Townsville one of the objectives was to do something good for all table tennis players in our city - and I hoped for both cooperation and friendly competition between the two table tennis associations in our city. TTTA has expressed that you are not interested in this. Can you please tell me why?" After re-sending the e-mail a month later I finally got the following reply: "We thank you for your recent emails on 8th March and 8th April 2011 in relation to friendly competition between the two associations. Your correspondence was tabled at our Board meeting on 17th March 2011." That was all!
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- We invited to TTTA to our first tournament that was held on Sunday 6 March (still 2011) with junior and senior grades. It was only our own players that turned up.
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- We invited TTTA-players to a junior tournament on Saturday 18th of June, but again: Nobody besides our own members turned up.
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- We asked TTTA (and a few other associations), by e-mail in October 2011 if the Academy should try to arrange an invitation tournament the weekend 17-18 December or the weekend 3-4 December or even the weekend before or other weekends that were better because there is a lack of table tennis activities this time of the year. We got a written reply from TTTA telling that this is a very busy time leading up to Christmas for their members so they will be unable to participate. It is a first time I have heard about an association deciding for its members when they have time to participate in a tournament!
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- I might also mention that TTTA held an interschool tournament on Saturday 19 November last year. None of the Academy members were able to participate because they had not heard about it - even if players from the same schools, but members of TTTA, played! The two schools in question are Pimlico (where Olav is) and Belgian Gardens (where youngest members are) and even if they did not receive an invitation then TTTA should remember that I was helping out as contact person for the same two schools at the previous school tournament (the same schools did not an invitation to the last school tournament either, held last Sunday, but luckily this time the TTTA Development Manager remembered in the last minute that I might be able to contact the students that are members of the Academy - and they participated and won gold medals for theirs schools in Grade 4-7 and 8-9!).
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- When it became clear that we could not use the school venue or other suitable community venues for our Open Championships planned for 10 to 11 March we immediately contacted TTTA and asked if we could hire their venue. We later received a letter telling that the TTTA-committee had voted unanimously to not hire the centre. No explanations given.
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- We have recently tried to invite TTTA to a cadet team league to have more activities in the city for the youngest players but got a reply from TTTA that "Due to the heavy player program and club tournament schedule up until the end of June we would not be in a position to partake in your Cadet League." Well, we did not put any starting date in our suggestion nor did we say that it should be a heavy schedule for the proposed league, we were simply suggesting that the two associations could co-operate to get something positive going!
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I am trying hard to build an association up from the scratch with very young players, and for them and me it is of course frustrating to always be met with negativism and lack of co-operation from TTTA because they only want one association in Townsville. To have two or more table tennis associations in a city of Townsville's size should be great for our sport! Other sports here have several associations; a new sport as soccer have 16 independent clubs in our area (successfully playing leagues on Saturdays for kids as young as 5 years old)!
I hope that the AGM can look into this matter because it must also be sad for TTQ that an association clearly is going against the TTQ objectives and what Trevor Barrett says in the TTQ Presidents Report for 2011: "New clubs are vital to the development of table tennis in Queensland, providing greater access to the sport and improved opportunities for inter-club competition".
What we; players, parents and board-members at the Academy hope is that the situation in our city can be normalized, hopefully so that the two associations can start to co-operate in the best interest of our sport.

Yours Sincerely
Terry Dahl
President
Table Tennis Academy Townsville
Some other related links:
- E-mail from me to TTTA, 30/01-11, informing of the establishment of the Academy and wishing for a fruitful co-operation - click here
- Letter to me from the TTTA Committee, 22/12-10, telling that I no longer can do any form of coaching in their venue - click here.
- E-mail from me to TTTA committee members, 29/07-2010, telling that I (at that stage) had not established a new club - click here.

- E-mail from me to TTQ , 28/07-2011, confirming that I am willing to take part in a mediation discussion with TTTA - click here.
- Just a few thoughts on having more than one association in a city- click here.