02 Dec 2016

Staged at the Faculty of Kinesiology in the University of Split in Croatia, the University Degree Study Programme in Sports Coaching, designed to suit the needs of table tennis players and coaches, commenced in November.

A global university education programme, organised in liaison with the International Table Tennis Federation and the European Table Tennis Union, the initiative includes and connects more than 20 recognised universities, institutes and academies worldwide.

by Goran Munivrana

The aim of the project is to make quality study accessible to the wider global table tennis community by using all the benefits of modern technologies such as “online” learning methods.

Therefore, it enables both players and coaches to actively study regardless of their professional duties in clubs, national teams or current geographical location.

In this first academic year, 2016-2017, with English being the language, 20 students from 16 countries worldwide have enrolled. Notably, the majority are already well established coaches or still active players. They have decided to use this opportunity to obtain well-rounded professional knowledge in the field of sports science and coaching and acquire a university degree, while pursuing their professional coaching or playing careers.

Pertinently, the International Table Tennis Federation, as one of co-organizers of the initiative, has established its own Scholarship Programme with an aim to provide support for coaches and players coming from countries and regions that could reap great benefit.

Additionally, this concept is part of the ITTF DNA (Developing National Associations) concept; the education of coaches being crucial to the long term success of any national association.

The three candidates who have been selected for scholarship support for the academic year 2016-2017. They are Venezuela’s Alejandro Aponte, Fiji’s Steve Reilly and Thailand’s Wisanu Wattayawong.

Notably, in addition Japan’s Aya Umemura who won the Women’s Singles title at the ITTF World Tour Brazil Open in 2001 and 2002 is a member of the course as is current Croatian international, Tomislav Kolarek.

High Performance and Development Goran Munivrana. Tomislav Kolarak Aya Umemura