by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The initiative is part of an overall sponsorship agreement with the International Table Tennis Federation to provide US$100,000 per year for development, education and training projects.
In the first two years, the period 2017 to 2018; the schedule includes the current Seamaster Training Camp plus a further such project next year in addition to a Youth Olympic Games Training Camp for those who have qualified to compete in Buenos Aires next year.
Also five scholarships, each worth US$ 5,000 for talented junior players have been made available, as well as technical and equipment support for the four new members associations – Bahamas, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau – who have enabled the International Table Tennis Federation to have every possible territory on earth as a member.
A total of 31 players accompanied by nine coaches, representing 13 national associations, have travelled to Shanghai; the coaching being under the direction of former Chinese international Feng Zhe.
“I am glad that we have a good attendance. Somehow it comes as a surprise. It is the end of the school year here in China but we have managed to find a lot of training partners. The huge difference in playing level and age of visiting players is a challenge but I believe that my coaching team has responded well. All players are divided into groups and each group has a coach who is making sure that the exercises fit their style and level. So far we practise three times a day. It is a schedule that we also use with our national team. Using multi-ball training we are getting the needed intensity. I am impressed that most of the camp participants can follow the heavy training load. The best players are from Belarus team. They have a good playing level; they are good athletes, physically fit and used to work hard.” Feng Zhe
Notably, the strong contingent from Belarus includes, Daria Trigolos, Marharyta Baltushite, Nadezhda Bogdanova, Alina Nikitchanka, Gleb Shamruk, Aliaksandr Khanin alongside coaches Veronika Pavlovich and Alexander Petkevitch.
“We are coming here from the China Open in Taicang; my Junior Girls’ Team is preparing for the European Youth Championships. We have a good chance for a podium finish. The camp is one of the last stages of our preparation. My team is talented and has a serious approach; the strong practice partners we have had here, help us move one step closer to achieving our goal.” Veronika Pavlovich
A delighted Veronika Pavlovich, the response from Didi Zhang who co-ordinated matters was no different.
“So far not major complains. Most of participants are satisfied with conditions and training; this is music for my ears”. Didi Zhang
The national associations represented were: Australia, Barbados, Belarus, Egypt, Fiji, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Tunisia and Wales.