by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Conducting affairs was Richard McAfee, no stranger to India; he has conducted no less than 16 ITTF courses in India in the past five years.
“Siliguri is the gateway of north east India and borders three countries, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. The locals described their city as known by the three “T’s” – Tea, Timber, and Table Tennis. Siliguri boasts some 20 Table Tennis Academies and more than 1,000 active players.” Richard McAfee
Overall 12 coaches took part including Biken Thapa, who most certainly seized the opportunity, he travelled from neighbouring Nepal.
“English is the third language spoken for most of the coaches attending so some translation was necessary and the coaches spent a great deal of time every evening studying their notes and learning a number of new technical terms in English.” Richard McAfee
A most valued student as was Sabrata Roy, he was the local host and made absolutely certain that all matters were in order in a region of India from which of many of the leading players have emanated.
“Credit for the level of table tennis development must go to the North Bengal Table Tennis Federation and their Secretary General, Mr. Subrata Roy. Over the years, the North Bengal Table Tennis Federation has produced many of the top players in India and members of the National Team.” Richard McAfee
Notably Soumyajit Ghosh, winner of the Men’s Singles title at the recent Seamaster ITTF Challenge Chile Open is from the state as is Subhajit Saha, Men’s Doubles gold medallist with Sharath Kamal Achanta at the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Similarly, Ankita Das, Mouma Das and Poloumi Ghatak hail from the state.
Motivated by Richard McAfee, all responded and gave total commitment; the outcome was that their efforts bore fruit; all passed both the oral and practical examinations at the end of the course.
“Siliguri has a very distinguished history of accomplishment within Indian table tennis. Now they are focusing on an even brighter future by offering ITTF Coaching Education Courses for their coaches.” Richard McAfee
The most successful visit to Siliguri concluded this year’s Indian itinerary for Richard McAfee; the next stop will be at the other side of the world; in late June he is bound for the Bahamas.