15 Nov 2016

Landlocked in south east Asia, the first part of a Developing a National Sports Structure Course in Laos, which started on Saturday 15th October, concluded recently on Friday 11th November.

Supported by Olympic Solidarity and organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, locally matters were administered by the Lao National Olympic Committee and the Lao Table Tennis Federation.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The Course Conductor was Malaysia’s Christina Chee.

Planning was the first step thus Chirtina Chee met with several prominent officials.  

Christina Chee (second from right) met local officials (far left) Somchay Vongsa and (second left) Somphou Phongsa (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)

Meetings were held with members of the National Olympic Committee, notably Somphou Phongsa, Vice President and Secretary General plus Kasem Inthara, also a Vice President. Additionally discussions were held with members of the Lao Table Tennis Federation; Christina Chee met Bouasy Sisavat, Vice President and Somchay Vongsa, the Secretary General.

Thank you for assisting our National Sport Federation to share your knowledge and experiences with our young local coaches in an effort to promote and expand our sport in some of the targeted provinces of the country”, Somphou Phongsa

All were very positive; the outcome being that an action plan to help physical education teachers coach table tennis was formulated and presented to the Director of Sport; the focus was on grass roots development.

Improvisation, every table is a table tennis table (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)

Undoubtedly the Lao Table Tennis Federation has eyes focused on youth and thus the plans are very much long term. The goal is to promote young coaches throughout the various regions in the country and create a young group of players to represent the national team.

It is very much the policy of Somchay Vongsa who wishes to see young people promoted; her goal for Laos to be represented at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

A week of planning over, during the second week, six primary and lower secondary schools were visited in Vientiane, the capital city; the task was to promote the Top Table Tennis Programme; the aim of the initiative being for teachers to coach their pupils.

Physical education teachers with (third from right) Christina Chee (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)

All responded to the efforts of Christina Chee; in each school there was an air of expectancy and enthusiasm but a lack of equipment was a concern.

Thus in an attempt to find a solution, the Lao Table Tennis Federation has initiated after school and weekend grassroots table tennis sessions at two centres; a permanent centre in Ban Phonethan, a temporary one in Vientiane Centre. Each facility has four table tennis tables.

 “We hope that the various stages of the action plan for development work closely together to fulfil needs of the Lao  Table Tennis Federation in particular, as well as the Sport Department  and the Ministry of Education and Sports”, Kasem Inthara

Young coaches take the initiative (Photo courtesy of Christina Chee)

Meanwhile in an aim to increase the number of coaches, Christina Chee conducted sessions for physical education student teachers at the National University of Laos and Thongpong Physical Education Teacher Training College. Christina Chee focused on technical skills, agility, developing a competitive spirit plus team work.

The second part of the overall itinerary commences on Tuesday 15th November and will conclude on Saturday 3rd December; the schedule includes a five day ITTF/PTT Level One Coach Education Course which will be staged from Monday 21st November to Friday 25th November.

Later, the final element will commence on Monday 5th December and will finish on Saturday 24th December; a 36 hour ITTF Level Two Coach Education Course will be organised from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th December.

Local schoolchildren responded in numbers
Local schoolchildren responded in numbers (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)
High Performance and Development Christina Chee