Western Pacific Island Well Prepared for the Forthcoming Challenge
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Michael Brown led the various programmes in Guam
Photo By: Remy Gros
The home for a highly commended ITTF Junior Circuit Tournament in April 2011 and later this year from Saturday 27th October to Sunday 4th November the host of the ITTF World Cadet Challenge; the Western Pacific island of Guam recently welcomed a development visit.
Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme and in liaison with the Oceania Table Tennis Federation, proceedings commenced on Thursday 28th June and concluded on Sunday 15th July.
Michael Brown, the Oceania Development Officer, was the expert on duty in the island where table tennis is most certainly making notable progress. The progress is the result of a forward thinking national association and close co-operation with the International Table Tennis Federation.
Previous Visits In 2007 New Zealand’s Andrew Hubbard conducted a Development Course; whilst later in the same year, the late Fran Keyhoe visited to lead an Umpires’ Programme. In both 2009 and 2010 Australia’s Scott Houston delivered courses, in his role as the Oceania Development Officer, as did Australia’s Alois Rosario in 2010 and Sweden’s Emanuel Christiansson in 2011 prior to the ITTF Junior Circuit event.
Four Elements “There were four key elements on the course”, said Michael Brown. “An ITTF Club Coaches Course, a Training Camp, Guam Table Tennis Development Plan meetings and tentative talks regarding preparation for the World Cadet Challenge this year and events in 2013.”
Coaches Course First on the agent was the Coaches Course.
“The ITTF Club Coach Course took place over three evenings, each session lasting four hours and with an attendance of 12 students throughout”, explained Michael Brown. “There was a good mix of participants ranging from current table tennis athletes to school teachers and also tennis coaches looking to add another sport to their skill set.”
Training Camp A successful course completed; next came a Training Camp.
“The Training Camp took place on weekdays from 9.00am to 11.00am and was well attended”, continued Michael Brown. “This gave the local athletes the opportunity to improve their skills through a variety of methods, including multi-ball, physical training and of course on table training.”
New recruits to the sport of table tennis following visits by Michael Brown to local villages Photo courtesy of Michael Brown
A Greater Plan Both the Club Coach Course and the Training Camp were invaluable; both are part of a greater plan.
“The Guam Table Tennis Federation Village Development Implementation Plan is a new phase in the island’s development plan”, added Michael Brown. “Financially backed by Calvo’s Select Care, a Health Insurance company on Guam, all 19 villages on Guam received two tables, four rackets, ten balls and two court surrounds; of the 19 villages, I made demonstrations at 16, which in total reached over 250 people, the majority had never seen table tennis.”
An Opportunity Well, in late October and early November, they will have the opportunity to see table tennis and they will be able to watch some of the world’s most aspiring talents in action.
First Time “The 2012 World Cadet Challenge, to be held in Guam, is the first time for an Oceania country to host an ITTF World Title Event”, enthused Michael Brown. “Therefore time was spent with the Organising Committee to ensure that the event will be memorable for all involved and will give a lasting impact for many countries, who will make their first visit to Oceania at the World Cadet Challenge.”
Certainly it is a landmark event not only for Guam but for the whole of Oceania and it would seem that following the ITTF Junior Circuit tournament in 2011 and the more recent visit by Michael Brown that extensive publicity will be afforded.
Extensive media coverage followed the visit of Michael Brown to the island of Guam Photo courtesy of Michael Brown
Television Star Great publicity was gained throughout the visit including two back page articles in national newspapers, as well as a radio talk show and television talk show appearance.