By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator


After the 2019 Canada Games in Red Deer, Head Coach Arvin Tronco wondered how he’d develop the next generation of table tennis athletes, specifically the girls he was working with, as many were eligible for the 2023 Games but had either moved to other provinces or had other commitments.

So he embarked on a re-building phase. 

Starting from scratch, he worked with several girls who he said had no prior knowledge or experience in the game.

On the incline of this journey, COVID-19 shut down sport. But it didn’t stop him from committing to advancing this team that he was beginning to see was oozing of potential.

“We did everything we could in the Manitoba Table Tennis Association (MTTA) to ensure they will get proper training, even during lockdown,” said Arvin. “We got this idea to train them online, we worked together with Sport Manitoba, and of course, we gave them some sport science. When restrictions eased up, we went back to the gym and taught them all the skills they needed to advance.”

They sent them on trips and tournaments to gain experience, and they started winning medals and some major and minor tournaments.

In fact, this past July at the Canadian Junior Championships in Ontario, his girls team won silver in both U15 and U13 team events, one of them finished silver in the U13 singles event, and three of them finished top eight in girls U15 single events. 

“Because of this result, some of them are on the Canadian Junior National Team already, in just two years.”


A Rapid-Fire Game

Table tennis is not just hitting the ball with the paddle, said Arvin. 

“Physically, it contains accuracy, speed, spin, power, and rhythm.”

It requires precise hand-eye coordination, stamina, and good reflexes, too. You also need to move quickly around the table to attack the ball.

“It is such a rapid-fire game, you only have mere seconds for a technical analysis of your next move before you have to make it,” said Arvin. 

It’s a game that can give back tons of reward and, at the higher levels, take you around the world.

For four young Manitobans—two girls and two boys—it will take them to PEI in February for the Canada Winter Games.


Selecting Team Toba

Table tennis made its Olympic debut in 1988 and has been featured in every program since.

In 2023, Team Toba’s four athletes will be competing in the following events:

  • Male and female singles
  • Male and female doubles
  • Mixed doubles
  • Male and female team events

The hopefuls will undergo three tryouts in total, two of which have already taken place. The last tryout will be on November 5, 2022.

“The first spot for each team is determined by whoever finished the top one in the three tryouts, and the last spot for [the] team will be selected by the head coach, of course that’s me, in conjunction with the executive director, Ron Edwards, and vetted by the athlete development committee,” said Arvin.



Training for PEI

Right now, they are setting up their season in preparation for the Canada Winter Games.

“These athletes will be training five times a week for two to four hours a day,” said Arvin. 

Sport Manitoba Performance gives all the athletes access to sport science as well, which includes strength and conditioning, nutrition, mental skills, and athlete testing that will be every Thursday and Saturday.


Keep Up With The Herd

Don’t miss a beat! Follow the Herd on social media @teamtoba on Instagram, @TeamToba on Twitter and Team Manitoba on Facebook.

“We just like to take this opportunity to thank all our athletes for all the hard work and dedication they invest in our sports,” said Arvin.  “For all the other sports competing at the Canada Winter Games in 2023 in PEI, good luck, and Go Team Toba!”

To learn more about MTTA, visit their website and follow them on Facebook.