by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Aimed at developing countries and funded by the German Foreign Office; the courses commenced in 1964. The courses last five months are known by the abbreviation from the German Internationaler Trainerkurs.
In recent years, a close liaison has been established with the ITTF Development Programme; several groups including those from Spanish speaking Latin American countries as well as those from the Arab world have attended.
Currently present are coaches from Georgia, Jamaica, Cameroon, Kenya, Montenegro, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Zambia.
“After only one month, we have already gained a lot of experience and we are all looking forward to transmitting what we are learning here, once we are back in our countries“, said Dianga Yong Clement from Cameroon.
A memorable visit was experienced by all with the students having the opportunity to meet such illustrious names as the host nation’s Timo Boll and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.
Additionally they met leading officials from the International Table Tennis Federation including Thomas Weikert, ITTF President and Glenn Tepper ITTF Deputy Chief Executive Officer who explained the importance of the close links that have been established with the University of Leipzig.
“I am very delighted to offer this opportunity to our participants today, it allows them to experience table tennis at world level”, explained Daniel Eckert-Lindhammer, ITK Administrative Managing Director.
He is very much the person with whom Leandro Olvech, the ITTF Director – Development has liaised in the organization and administration of the various courses. Unquestionably from both sides, there is a high level of trust.
“In order to maintain the high quality of our academic further education for international coaches the co-operation with ITTF is substantial”, added Daniel Eckert-Lindhammer. “Moreover, there are ideas of expanding the co-operation beyond the programme in Leipzig; we are particularly talking about an implementation of educational projects abroad, lifelong learning, it is a concept we are supporting.”
Never too old to learn, so they say; a new motto for the University of Leipzig?
Original text by Sonja Riedel; translated by Sandra Penkalla