14 Oct 2016

Renowned for sporting excellence, Havana, the capital city of Cuba was the recent home for an ITTF/PTT Level One Course; staged at the Cerro Pelado High Performance Centre, proceedings commenced on Tuesday 4th October and concluded on Saturday 8th October.

A total of 27 students attended, all possessed degrees in Physical Education or were employed full time as table tennis coaches. Eight members were female of whom one was Barbaro Oliva, the Commissioner of Table Tennis in Cuba.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Notably they represented 12 of the island’s 14 regions: Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Cienfuegos, Granma, Holguin, Havana, Matanzas, Mayabeque, Pinar del Rio, Santiago de Cuba, Santi Spiritus, Villaclara. There were no representatives from the east owing to Hurricane Matthew.

The course conductor was Ramon Ortega Montes, better known as Moncho who as a result of the intrepid weather gained the nickname Matthew.

“I have never before attended a Para Table Tennis Course; now I realise that some things I have been doing can be done in a different way; I will put these new ideas into practice, especially with my two new players”, said Jorge Vega, who works with Para athletes.

An explanation provided (Photo: courtesy of Ramon Ortega Montes)

It was a very similar response from Lisandra Montero who coaches beginners.

“I´m really happy with the course, I loved the didactic methods that now we will be able to put in practice with our groups”, she said.

Pleased with the course, so was one very unique member of the group; Gerardo Perez was a member of the Cuban field hockey team, before changing his alliance to athletics; incredibly he ran 400 kilometres each week.

The Para element proved a highlight (Photo: courtesy of Ramon Ortega Montes)

Now his attentions are directed towards table tennis and with success; one of his players in now the leading name in the Cuban Cadet Boys’ Team. Enthusiastic he invited Moncho to his training centre; no doubt that will be high on the list of priorities for a future visit.

A full schedule following the ITTF/PTT Manual was covered; the whole itinerary meeting with the approval of all concerned.

In addition, Moncho met with members of the National Olympic Committee and with Martha Lidia Ruiz Perez, the International Affairs Manager from the National Institute of Sport.

Overall, 24 students, all with a full attendance record passed the course.

Moncho (left) meets (right) Martha Lidia Ruiz Perez (Photo: courtesy of Ramon Ortega Montes)
High Performance and Development Raymond Ortega Montes