Swiss Coach Returns to Favourite Destination to Conduct Level One Course
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Robert Sairsingh, the President of the Caymam Islands Association on his knees
Photo By: Michael Ricketts
Situated in the western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman being located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.
A quite idyllic setting it was the home for an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course from Friday 20th to Sunday 29th July 2012; the UCCI multi-purpose sports hall in Georgetown was the venue.
Supported by Olympic Solidarity, the course was organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme in conjunction with the Latin American Table Tennis Union. The expert on duty was Switzerland’s Georg Silberschmidt, a coach who is no stranger whatsoever to that part of the world.
Visitor for Past Three Years Georg Silberschmidt has been a regular visitor to the Caribbean to conduct courses under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme for the past three years; such is his enthusiasm that he has been known to conduct courses as part of his holidays.
Visits to Caribbean In 2009 he visited Jamaica to conduct an ITTF Level Two Course; then in 2010 he visited St Kitts and Nevis in addition to Anguilla to conduct ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Courses.
One year later in 2011, he returned to St Kitts and Nevis to lead a further ITTF Level One Coaches Course; whilst visiting Antigua and Barbuda to conduct a similar course and implement a programme for schools.
Furthermore, at the beginning of 2011, he was in Trinidad and Tobago; there he conducted an ITTF Level Two Course.
Equipment Support All proved enjoyable and successful with the help provided in 2010 by the Indian manufacturer Stag making the course in the Cayman Islands possible.
In conjunction with the ITTF Development Programme, six tables, six net and post sets, 80 rackets, eight gross of balls and six scorers were made available.
Started Slowly “Table tennis started slowly in Cayman Islands and the initial planned course in 2010 was postponed just a few weeks before the fixed date owing to a lack of participants”, explained Georg Silberschmidt. “thanks to the efforts made by Äsko Rasinen, formerly the President of the Finnish Table Tennis Association and having worked for many years in Cayman Islands as well as the new president, Robert Sairsingh, the Olympic solidarity course became a reality.”
Georg Silberschmidt instructs at a theory session on the Cayman Islands Course Photo courtesy of Georg Silberschmidt
Multi-National A total of 14 students attended the ITTF/PTT Level One Course, a further six completed the Club Coach certificate.
“The participants came from all over the world, two from Romania; in fact they met for the first time in the course, proof how sport is brings people together!” enthused Georg Silberschmidt. “Also, there was a girl from Russia and men from Jamaica; it just shows that the island is a melting pot of nationalities.”
Media Coverage Certainly there was plenty of enthusiasm with the local media prominent. Cayman 27, the national television station conducted interviews with prospective course members as Georg Silberschmidt was arriving.
Certificates were presented to grateful participants at the conclusion of proceedings Photo courtesy of Georg Silberschmidt
Eager to Learn “All of the participants were very eager to learn how to teach the game properly and to improve their personal skills as well, not being familiar with structured training”, added Georg Silberschmidt. “Now, there is a motivation to popularise the game on the beautiful islands, starting with after school programmes, creating clubs and planning the first national championships in January 2013.”
No doubt Äsko Rasinen will be able to assist. Georg Silberschmidt anticipates he will return in time to what is his second home.
Key Meetings “In addition to the course, I held meetings with key players in sport, mainly with Donald MacLean, president of the National Olympic Committee as well as with Collin Anglin, the Director of Sport”, continued Georg Silberschmidt. “It was a real pleasure to see, that the Cayman Islands Table Tennis Association will have full support from these stakeholders for their planned activities; maybe in the future, table tennis will be named by the government as one of the targeted sports; at the moment six disciplines receive huge financial and logistical support.”
Thanks to the efforts of Georg Silberschmidt that may happen; he has opened doors that were once closed. The doors are now wide open.
Georg Silberschmidt (left) with officials from sporting organizations is the Cayman Islands Photo courtesy of Georg Silberschmidt