by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, it was an initiative with a difference; there were two experts on duty, each with a specific task.
Choy Freddy from Kiribati spent one month in the island country, he was charged with the task of increasing interest in the sport. He visited eleven local schools; thus paving the way for Frenchman, Nicolas Petit to add technical skills to the overall itinerary.
Nicolas Petit visited for ten days; with the assistance of Choy Freddy, his mandate was to conduct and ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course. Home for the whole proceedings was Majuro, capital.
A total of 13 specially selected community leaders attended; one major aim being to raise the profile of table tennis in an area of the world where the greatest exposure is afforded to basketball and volleyball.
It was the fourth Olympic Solidarity supported course to be held in the Marshall Islands in recent times. In their capacities as Oceania Development Officers, coach education courses were conducted by New Zealand’s Andrew Hubbard in September 2008, three years later by Australia’s Scott Houston in October and most recently in December 2013 by Michael Brown.
“Table tennis, mainly known as a social game here, the course generated a great deal of interest with some 300 children being involved; it has encouraged the national association creating clubs and offer training opportunities all year long”, Nicolas Petit
A successful overall programme; on the concluding day a training camp for children followed by a tournament was staged; the most pleasing factor being that both events were organised in their entirety by the course members.
The national association has agreed to help coaches in the creation of table tennis clubs; also in 2017 a National Championships is planned.