by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Stage one of the itinerary completed successfully; the next phase, the unveiling of the curtain to signal the start of competition, was enacted.
At 8.00pm the Opening Ceremony took place.
There was both an air of anticipation and an air of reflection; the young players and their mentors were looking forward to the start of competition but also they were reflecting on the first three days.
An enthralling three days’ training camp had captured the imagination; all had hung on the words of the head coach Chen Bin, the personal coach of Ding Ning, the winner of the Women’s Singles title at both the Qoros 2015 World Championships and at the more recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“We learned a lot from the camp; we learned some new skills”, said Arantxa Cossio Aceves, a member of the Hopes Team. “The focus was on being able to spin the ball; my power is not strong and I am not too fast; so I should try to be better at spinning the ball.”
A positive view from a young player, it was the same from Jaroslaw Koloziejczyk, the manager of the European Team.
“The camp’s coach Chen Bin is champion coach”, said Jaroslaw Koloziejczyk. “Here, the players are young; they are improving and learning.”
Likewise Norman Carillo, the Latin American coach, believed the first three days had been beneficial.
“Chen Bin had taught us many new skills from which my players will benefit”, he said. “They learned a lot from the camp, my players may not be strong enough to win every game but I’m sure they will do their best.”
The words of Chen Bin had been heeded and certainly welcomed; a similar response was received Australian coach Brett Clarke who has been involved in the mentoring programme.
“It’s fantastic, Chen Bin is an amazing coach, high quality; also the ITTF staff members possess a manner and we enjoy the programme”, he said. “We should progress step by step; preparation before a match is important; Chen Bin is professional coach, he leads other coaches and reliable; we are already making use of his ideas.”
Competition begins on the morning of Monday 24th October with play in the group stage of the team events.