INTERNATIONAL Table Tennis Federation deputy chief executive Glenn Tepper has swung federation support behind moves for a multi-use sports stadium in Horsham.
Mr Tepper, formerly of Murtoa, has promised Horsham Table Tennis Association new equipment and coaching if Horsham Rural City Council provides a new venue for the association.
In a letter to the Mail-Times Mr Tepper said a new building was promised to the association more than 40 years ago.
Since 1963, the association’s home has been Horsham Showground’s Maydale Pavilion.
Mr Tepper said the building was a tin shed, with concrete floors.
“It is surrounded by hessian and close to zero degrees on cold winter nights,” he said.
He said players also had to step carefully to avoid sheep manure.
“Table tennis was actually in the original plans for the Horsham Basketball Stadium,” he said.
Mr Tepper said he wanted to see a new home for the association so Wimmera youth had a chance to succeed in the Olympic sport of table tennis.
“Everyone should have the chance to play a lifelong sport and pastime in reasonable conditions,” he said.
The Mail-Times reported on September 4 that Horsham Rural City Council’s draft Sport and Recreation Strategy 2013-2018 listed a better table tennis venue as its highest priority for indoor sport.
The report found Maydale Pavilion was totally inadequate for table tennis.
Association president Jeff Pekin said the association needed council to adopt the recommendation and go to the next step which was a feasibility study.
He has urged people to write letters of support for the association to council, Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty and the Mail-Times.
Mr Tepper said if a new venue was built while he was still with the International Table Tennis Federation, it would provide the tables, nets and barriers, as well as a top-level exhibition and coaching, for the venue opening.
“I am in my 50s so this offer has a finite time span,” he said.
Mr Tepper said despite the conditions at Maydale Pavilion, many Victorian and Australian table tennis champions had started their careers there.
“School children, juniors, people with a disability, regular players, seniors all have a place and make Horsham table tennis a model of social inclusion,’’ he said.
“Personally, my table tennis pathway has taken me across most of the table tennis venues in Australia as well as to nearly 100 countries worldwide.’’
Mr Tepper is the oldest of four children, all of whom played for Australia.
He represented Australia from 1982 to 1991 in World Championships and Asian Championships. His sister Kerri represented Australia in the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics.