by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Basis of the agenda is to offer high quality coaching and training facilities for aspiring young players who have enjoyed success on the international scene and display the skills to move to an even higher level. In particular there is an emphasis on the needs of the individual.
Attendance is by invitation only. Players are required to have participated in ITTF programmes, especially the Hopes scheme. Progress made and results gained at major international events at crucial stages, especially on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, are factors of consideration, as is performance at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge.
“Personally I’m really pleased that with the introduction of this incentive; we have finally established a complete and structured ITTF Athlete Development Model that starts at the age of 10 and 11 years with the national phase of the Hopes and is later upgraded with the regional and continental and world stages.
Once the players are out of the Hopes group (13 years to 15 years), they have the possibility to be selected for the Rough Diamonds project and after that they become Youth Olympic Games candidates (15 years to 17 years), then Olympic Games candidates (17 years to 21 years). In selections they can be supported through the “With the Future in Mind Programme”. It means that all in all we talk about a 10 years long process of athlete development with the support of the ITTF, whereby a strong focus is put also on the education of their coaches.” Polona Cehovin Susin, ITTF Director- Education and Training
The dates for the training camp in Otocec have been selected in order to coincide with ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments in Central Europe.
Notably the Croatia Junior and Cadet Open will be held from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th September, followed by the Slovenia Junior and Cadet Open from Wednesday 20th to Sunday 24th September and then the Serbia Junior and Cadet Open from Wednesday 4th to Sunday 8th October.
Rough Diamonds: Prospectus (Tuesday 9th May)