03 Jan 2017

Home for the 2016 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup, staged just under one year ago; more recently Khartoum, the capital city of the Sudan, was the host for a Hopes Week.

Conducted under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, proceedings commenced on Sunday 25th December and concluded on Saturday 31st December.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Led by Egypt’s Mohamed Gharib, organised locally by the Sudan Table Tennis Association in conjunction with the Alqabas International School, a total of 20 players, 14 boys and six girls attended. The school provided food, drinks and training shirts for the players; as well as organising a bus to transport players the venue.

“The school places a high emphasis on developing concepts and the abilities of children, the sport of table tennis develops intelligence and self-reliance”, Salma Mohamed, General Manager of the Alqabas International school

Advice from Mohamed Gharib for one young player (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)

Furthermore, ten local coaches, who had attended either an ITTF Level One or ITTF Level Two Course gave valuable assistance. Ten table tennis tables were available throughout the whole proceedings.

Each day witnessed four sessions of play. Players, who were making their first steps in the sport, were present from 9.30am to 11.30am and from 4.30pm to 6.30pm; those in the cadet age group attended from 11.30am to 1.00pm and from 6.30pm to 8.00pm.

Mohamed Gharib assists a young player; a robot put to good use (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)

Notably, Ahmed Abdullah, the Secretary-General of the Sudan Table Tennis Association, visited the camp, expressing the view that he believed the initiative to be a major step in building a strong base of players and coaches for international competition; especially for African and Arab competitions.

Support from Salma Mohamed, there was also support from Abdelrahman El-Salwi, the President of the Sudan Table Tennis Association, Mohamed Salh, General Manager of Sport at the Ministry of Youth and Sport as well as from Ahmad Abalgasem, the General Secretary of Sudan Olympic Committee.

Awards were made to the leading girls (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)

All indicated their full support whilst also congratulating both the young players and their parents for the efforts that had been made.

“The young players were motivated and the parents were delighted; many of the parents were veteran players. Also the daily attendance by officials had a major impact on the coaches”, Mohamed Gharib

Presentations for the Boys’ Singles medallists (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)

Interest from officials, it was the very same from the media, the local press featured photographs of the players; in addition there were three visits from television stations.

Proceedings nearing conclusion, Mohamed Gharib met with the parents of the players; all were very enthusiastic and agreed to pay a monthly subscription fee in order that the training sessions may continue.

Mohamed Gharib was very much the focal point for the media (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)

Enthusiasm high, it was the same until the very last moment, a most impressive closing ceremony concluded proceedings. In the presence of Abdelrahman El-Salwi and Ahmed Abdullah; Abdulrahman Mohamed, a leading official from the Bank of Khartoum, supporters of Save the Children, presented gifts to all concerned.

An ending in style for the Hopes Week, moreover an ending in style for the old year.

A Happy New Year from Khartoum (Photo: courtesy of Mohamed Gharib)
High Performance and Development Coaching Mohamed Gharib