Table tennis star, 12, 'unfairly' cut from national team after coach argues with family

Table tennis star, 12, 'unfairly' cut from national team after coach argues with family
Photo credit: Getty Images

A table tennis coach has been ordered to reinstate a 12-year-old cut from a national team due to a fight over the kind of bat she used. 

The Sports Tribunal found Table Tennis New Zealand's (TTNZ) decision unfair and ordered the unnamed girl be returned to the team.

TTNZ will also pay $2000 towards the family's legal costs. 

In February 2019 the girl was selected to represent New Zealand at the Oceania Junior Table Tennis Championships in Tonga. 

When the girl's grandmother found out who the coach for the trip was she complained to TTNZ that Amy (not her real name) had made her granddaughter cry during a tournament in 2017.

Amy told the then ten-year-old girl she needed to use a sponge bat rather than the "pimpled" bat she was using. The girl's own coach had approved her use of the bat.  

After the altercation, the girl tried to avoid Amy as she felt uncomfortable.

After discovering Amy would be coaching her granddaughter, the grandmother refused to pay the required travel costs for the trip.

TTNZ's director warned the girl would lose her spot if the money wasn't paid. 

When she was replaced, her grandmother claimed the removal was unfair as she won her spot through hard work.

The sports tribunal found TTNZ had failed to follow a fair process while dealing with the disagreement, and the girl's position should be reinstated.

It acknowledged it was regrettable to now remove her replacement from the team, but it was "the right thing to do".