by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Both were administered locally by the Table Tennis Federation of India and the Rajasthan Table Tennis Association led by the President, Anil Dubey, who worked tirelessly to make the course a success.
Similarly, proceedings were supported by Tenvic, an organization which promotes grass roots sport.
Two consecutive courses of the same nature, the value of the ITTF Coach Education programmes are most certainly underlined. An ITTF/PTT Level One Course may contain a maximum of 30 members; in Ajmer the first course had 29 students, the second 26 in number. Notably, six coaches came from New Delhi, five from Surat and four from Rajasthan.
“The ITTF coaching scheme was introduced to India in 2012. It is considered to be one the main factors why India’s level has progressed so much in recent years. The level of Indian coaches has clearly increased. India now has ten ITTF Level Three coaches, the highest in the world.” Christian Lillieroos
Pertinently, the course was held at the same time as the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships, a tournament which aroused interest in Ajmer, especially the Men’s Team quarter-final contest which witnessed a three-two defeat for India against Japan.
All the coaches were very enthusiastic about the course and worked very hard, all passed the practical test; for the second consecutive time there was a 100 pass rate. It is situation that could well be unique in the history of the ITTF Development Programme.
“Some of the coaches did not have much experience and some had not such strong English so it was hard for them to keep up with the content of the course. However, at the end of the course the pass rate shows their hard work and dedication. The course was marked with a very high level of selfless work from the experienced coaches that spent long hours helping everyone out, this created this great result.” Christian Lillieroos
A most welcoming response; it was one that delighted Christian Lillieroos, one student in particular caught his eye.
“Gururaghavendra Nadgauda from the city Sune in South India won the award of best in class. A very humble person, he had a clear vision of how to coach table tennis. He has also invented a variable rubber surfaced return board that he is in the process of commercializing.”, Christian Lillieroos
An enterprising coach but one factor did concern Christian Lillieroos, the low number of women coaches who enrolled.
“Female coaches are still not enough of in India, but Ruchika Achha from Surat Gujarat, did a great job and won the award of best female coach in the course. Hraday Desai won the award for best talent for future ITTF Level Two courses. To coach at Level One and Level Two is not the same thing and in Level Two you need to have a better understanding of advanced table tennis and Hraday really had that and he became extremely good playing left handed during the course as well.” Christian Lillieroos
A successful visit to Ajmer, it was a notable occasion in the history of ITTF Development Programme courses.