by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Patrick Chila is listed in the Star Coach category; for Simon Gauzy it is the Star Point section.
Twice Patrick Chila had to sit and watch his team lose to England by the very narrowest of margins at both the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
On each occasion, he had guided his players to match point; to the very precipice of victory in each fixture.
He could do no more, other than grab the racket and play himself. Now there’s an idea make him play Alan Cooke, fellow nominee, at the Star Awards Evening to decide who is “Star Coach of the Year”!
Agonising defeats, yet as I looked around the arenas in Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro in particular, I saw coaches jumping up and down, far too animated; arguably exerting unnecessary pressure on the players under their command, throughout Patrick Chila was the model of composure.
It is a persona that exudes trust; clearly the French players have absolute confidence in their coach.
However, was anything going to go right for Patrick Chila?
Even when Simon Gauzy played Fan Zhendong at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event, he became involved in one of the most bizarre points of the year; that stroke of genius from Fan Zhendong or amazing fluke depending on your allegiance, is one of five Star Points of the year.
Simon Gauzy lost the point and the match; surely France deserved a break.
Eventually on Sunday 23rd October in Budapest “Le jour de gloire” arrived; Emmanuel Lebesson and Simon Gauzy contest the final of the Men’s Singles event.
The verdict went in favour of Emmanuel Lebesson but there was one other winner on the day, the man who had behaved immaculately when his team had experienced desperate defeat, take your hat off to Patrick Chila, an example to all. He deserved the special moment, two French players in the final for the very first time in the history of the tournament.
Coach of the Year will be decided by a panel of experts but you can still vote for Male Player of the Year, Female Player of the Year and the Star Point.
2016 ITTF Star Awards: Click here to cast your vote
For further information including press accreditation contact, Matt Pound, Promotion and Media Manager
Voting closes on Sunday 13th November