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American Adventurer Visits the Land of Big Money and Jaws
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Richard McAfee ask the question: Who wants to play table tennis? The response is unanimous  Photo By: Courtesy of Richard McAfee


Situated in the Pacific Ocean, with the Philippines to the west and Indonesia to the south west, the Federated States of Micronesia, as the name suggests, comprises a host of small islands, the most prominent being the island states of Yap, Chuck, Kosrae, Pohnpei.

Promoted under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, Richard McAfee, the Chair of the United States Table Tennis Association’s National Coaching Committee, is spending one month in the region.

He is visiting each of the four islands in turn to conduct ITTF/PTT Level One Courses.

Outstanding Supporter
Supported by Olympic Solidarity, matters commenced in Yap on Wednesday 12th October and concluded the following week on Tuesday 18th October 2011, with local organisation being under the direction of Jim Tobin.

He is the Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee and has supported the promotion of table tennis for many years,

Ancient Stone Coins
“Yap, Micronesia, is famous for its ancient large stone money with some of the coins reaching eight feet in diameter”, explained Richard McAfee. “It is also a world class destination for divers wishing to swim with the giant Manta Rays; however, in recent days, the talk of the Island has been the sport of table tennis with Yap hosting a week-long Olympic Solidarity Course.”

During his stay in Yap, Richard McAfee advised local coaches, visited schools in the area and conducted training sessions for cadets at the local community centre, with the island’s John Mangofel, an ITTF Level One coach, assisting throughout.

Promising Future
“Future plans now call for coach Mangofel to hold a training course for local elementary school teachers and for table tennis to be taught in schools starting in April of 2012”, explained Richard McAfee. “From this programme, coach Mangofel will select the most promising cadets to continue on a regular programme of instruction.”

Help from Xiom
An exciting concept and made possible thanks to help from the Korean manufacturer, Xiom.

“The course was in a large part made possible by the gift of an equipment package from Xiom, consisting of six tables, 60 rackets and balls made to the Federated States of Micronesia”, added Richard McAfee. “Yap’s share of this equipment will make it possible for table tennis to be introduced into the Yap Games in June 2012.”

Concentration, Richard McAfee teaches the importance of good control

Permanent Hall
Furthermore, premises are being made available.

“In addition, the Yap Sports Council, headed by Paul Lane, is making available a permanent space at the new Yap National Sports Center for a table tennis training centre”, concluded Richard McAfee. “Yap may be an ancient culture but is quickly moving into the modern world of sport.”

Safe Journey
Moving forward quickly in the sport of table tennis is good news and Richard McAfee better move quickly on his travels in Micronesia.

A Manta Ray has been known to measure over 7.6 metres (25 feet) wide with a weight of 1,300 kilograms (2,900 pounds); it’s a species of shark!

Bon Voyage.

left: Fun in the outdoors as youngsters learn ball skills
right: Time to celebrate, the children proudly join Richard McAfee to show their certificates

Photos courtesy of Richard McAfee



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