by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Throughout, the whole itinerary was conducted in the splendid premises of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association; the venue that hosted the Volkswagen 2011 World Junior Championships. The course conductor was Egypt’s Ahmed Dawlatly, the ITTF Technical Expert.
“Bahrain, which name means “Two Seas” is a Middle Eastern country comprising more than 30 islands in the Arab Gulf. It has been at the centre of major trade routes since antiquity, also it is a member of Gulf Countries Council along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. The city`s thriving “Bab Al Bahrain” bazaar offers wares ranging from colourful hand woven fabrics, spices to pearls”, Ahmed Dawlatly
Increasing the educators was a major initial step. A total of 13 coaches was added to the ITTF Coach Registry following the ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course staged from Monday 24th to Friday 28th October; 18 students attended. Later an ITTF Club Coach Course was staged from Sunday 4th to Wednesday 7th December; overall 14 students were present.
Additionally, seminars were held Thursday 8th September and on Tuesday 15th November; the subject for the former being physical fitness for table tennis players, for the latter it was coaching table tennis.
Education and discussion on the agenda, there was also talent identification. School visits were organised, a primary schools tournament was staged with a final selection to determine a special group being made in January.
Attention to young players, attention was also afforded to the more senior players; training sessions were arranged for members of the Bahrain National Team in addition as well as for Samaheej Club, the Bahrain Club, the Tubli Club.
Theory and practice, there was also the opportunity for Ahmed Dawlatly to meet major officials.
Meetings were held at which, in addition to staff members from various organisations and local officials, several high ranking personnel were in attendance. Ahmed Dawlatly met Sheikha Hayat Bent Abdul Aziz Al-Khalifa, the President of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association, Abdul Rahman Askar, the Secretary-General of the Bahrain National Olympic Committee and Dr. Essam Abdulla, the Head of Physical Education at the Ministry of Education.
“There was excellent co-ordination between the Bahrain National Olympic Committee Team headed by Mr. Abdul Rahman Askar and Bahrain Table Tennis Association team led by Shaikha Hayat Bint Abdul Aziz Al-Khalifa. Dr. Essam Abdula provided every possible assistance for the programme; he facilitated school visits for the Talent Identification part and asked to organise a Club Coach course especially for Physical Education school teachers”, Ahmed Dawlatly
The meetings resulted in Ahmed Dawlatly being able to identify the various roles required and implement a comprehensive action plan.
“My thanks to members of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association; to Salman Youssef, Board Member, his presence was invaluable; also my thanks to Ali Almadeh, Vice President, Ebrahim Seyadi, the Secretary-General and Fareed Kazerooni, the Executive Manager.
Notably future plans for the Bahrain Table Tennis Association are to include an ITTF Level Two Coach Education Course, Umpiring Courses plus joint international training camps both inside and outside Bahrain.