by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Head coach for the whole proceedings was Frenchman Sylvain Chermette; he was assisted by local coaches Joachim Kabongo and Thomas Mundele.
Notably, it was Sylvain Chermette’s second visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; in early January 2014 he had been the course conductor for a coach education course followed by a training camp.
“It was funny and interesting to work with these two coaches I had met during an ITTF Level One Course that I led a few years ago in the same place. It shows how the ITTF Development Project supports federations and helps both coaches and players progress”, Sylvain Chermette
Everyone responded to the efforts of the coaches, some members have competed internationally and had attended training camps in Asia. Undoubtedly having experienced players present helped with raising levels amongst the young players; they were able to practise alongside their more senior colleagues.
A positive response; one that pleased Sylvain Chermette, one aspect in particular being the performance of the girls who attended; perhaps that fact was a legacy of the visit some three years earlier, when a vital aspect of his visit was to focus on encouraging female participation.
“It was interesting to note that some girls were present and that their level is very good compared to the level of many neighbouring countries. It rewards all the effort made by the federation to develop women table tennis in the country”, Sylvain Chermette
Positive efforts by the national federation for whom St. Mathieu Muana Mbuta, the President is very much the driving force, the source of inspiration.
At the training camp, he was present each day offering words of encouragement.
Furthermore, his presence not only encouraged the players and coaches; it attracted the local media. Two interviews, with local televisions stations were conducted, a major boost for the country.
Undoubtedly the training camp was a success; the Democratic Republic of the Congo may have some distance to travel to match the likes of Egypt and Nigeria but most certainly they are set to climb the ladder. They are set to become one of the more prominent countries in Africa.