14 Nov 2016

Natalia Castellano, Paulina Vega and Alejandro Rodriguez, all members of the Chilean national team, were three of the most notable names to attend a recent ITTF/PTT Level One Course in Concepcion, an area devastated by the 2010 Chile earthquake.

Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme and administered in conjunction with the Latin American Union, alongside the Chilean Table Tennis Federation and Chillan Table Tennis Association; self-funded proceedings commenced on Wednesday 26th October and concluded on Sunday 30th October.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The expert of the course was José Luis Urrutia, the Chilean women team national coach; he was assisted by Pablo Lopez, the Paralympic national coach.

A total of 25 participants attended with, in addition to Chillan, course members travelling from Angol, Chaiten, Concepción, Malleco, Osorno, Pitrufquen, Punta Arenas, Santiago and Temuco.

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The Opening Ceremony in Chillan (Photo courtesy of Romina Concha Sepulveda)

 “I am still a player and will continue playing as long as I can help the national team but I also want to contribute to my region and help young players. I have to improve and that is part of my growth to become a coach and to be one of the best”, Paulina Vega

Undoubtedly Paulina Vega, who alongside husband, Alejandro Rodrigues and Romina Concha Sepulveda, the Promotion and Media Director for the Latin American Table Tennis Union, helped organise matters locally, was a most a most prominent name. She competed in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and two earlier the runner up in the Dominican Republic at the 2002 Latin American Championships.

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The Para element was an invaluable element (Photo: courtesy of Romina Concha Sepulveda)

However, she was not alone; one name to attract the attention was that of Washington Iturra, a football referee in Chile’s top league for 15 years.

“The course was a wonderful experience. I met coaches, teachers and other professionals; all of them united by table tennis”, Washington Iturra

Names who have achieved in sport at a high level; from a different perspective there were two further most worthy and most welcome students, Luis Rogel and Fredy Mansilla, both teachers.

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Demonstration time (Photo: courtesy of Romina Concha Sepulveda)

They travelled from Chaiten in the far in the south of the country; the town was covered in ashes and almost destroyed by a huge eruption of Chaiten Volcano in 2008.

“It was a wonderful and enriching experience. It was a dream to take this course. Our objective is to promote table tennis in Chaiten. We recently went back to Chaiten to rebuild the town. There is nothing better than to work for this sport, we have a rainy weather but there are many places where we can practise”, Luis Rogel

A view from on high (Photo: courtesy of Romina Concha Sepulveda)

The ash cloud of 2008 reached Santiago and Buenos Aires; now people are returning to rebuild the town.

“It was an enriching experience, because we had all the conditions necessary to carry out a very good course in the facilities of the Deportivo Huachipato Club. I also want to thank Paulina and Alejandro for the organization”, José Luis Urrutia

The Deportivo Huachipato Club, an organization with a long tradition of success, was the host throughout the whole course.

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Course members with the ITTF Manuals (Photo: courtesy of Romina Concha Sepulveda)
High Performance and Development Paulina Vega Alejandro Rodriguez José Luis Urrutia Natalia Castellano