by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Staged in Cairo at the National Training Centre; six Butterfly table tennis tables, hundreds of balls and a classroom within the facility for theory sessions, provided ideal teaching facilities for Jordan’s Mohamed Atoum, the course conductor.
Overall, a total of 13 students attended, two being female; Karima Tellaa, an ITTF Level Two Course Conductor from Algeria and Hind Bashir who travelled from Sudan.
Also from foreign shores, Bader Saleh Shamsan, who is employed as a national team coach in Bahrain, was present as was Ahmed AlBannaie from Kuwait Club. All other students were from Egypt.
“Yasser Ibrahim was the co-ordinator for the course, he supported from the first minute to the last; he gave one hundred per cent all the time and attended many of the sessions. I thank him for his support”, Mohamed Atoum
Eight intense days, each day was six hours, the full range of topics covered, the time was divided equally into a morning and afternoon session. Well that was the theory and the view of Mohamed Atoum but it was not necessarily the view of the students. Add homework and preparation, it was more like 12 hours each day!
“Many thanks to the Egyptian Table Tennis Federation for this course; it gave me a most valuable opportunity, I had the chance to meet good coaches during the eight days, we exchanged ideas and we learned many things in a dynamic and flexible way, I liked the idea of a written exam instead of oral; it gave me a chance to think and give good answers”, Mohamed Abdel Hamid (Junior Coach at the Al Ahli Club in Cairo).
A landmark occasion for the Arab world, a fact that was clearly recognised by leading officials; both Dr Alaa Meshref, the President of the Egyptian Table Tennis Federation and Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation were most welcome visitors.
“The coaches worked very hard before and during the course, they showed they had the abilities to help players improve; now making full use of what they have learned; they can help players achieve an even higher level”, Mohamed Atoum
Matters closed with Dr Alaa Meshref highlighting the fact that it had been a very important in year with respect to coach education. Michel Gadal had visited Egypt on four occasions to conduct a Developing a National Sports Structure Course.
Clearly, the visit of Mohamed Atoum complemented the work of the highly respected Frenchman; most notable steps have been made.