by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Overall 31 players, accompanied by nine coaches were present; coaching being under the direction of former Chinese international, Feng Zhe.
The response was most positive; most certainly the Tunisian national coach, Mohamed Ghazi Ben Kahia, was delighted. He was of no doubt that his charges, Youssef Ben Attia and Fadwa Garci had benefitted enormously from the nine days.
“I am very pleased with the camp. Youssef and Fadwa worked hard. They had the opportunity to practise in strong group and in a good environment. Fadwa has to work on her recovery after attack but there will always be areas to improve. After all this is why we come here.” Mohamed Ghazi Ben Kahia
Undoubtedly it was an exacting and strenuous time for the young players; there were some aches and pains. Although present in Shanghai as the physiotherapist for the Belarus team, Mikhail Shadryn was in high demand and helped all concerned.
“Although in table tennis we don’t see many dramatic injuries, when training volume is high, players, coaches and physios must take prevention measures to avoid injuries. Good fitness training, regular stretching, correct technique and addressing discomfort early are keys for success.” Mikhail Shadryn
A positive response from Mohamed Ghazi Ben Kahia and from Mikhail Shadryn; it was the very same from three aspiring players, New Zealand’s Nathan Xu, Iran’s Samadi Seyedmohammadamin and Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz.
“I came to China to attend the Seamaster Training Camp; it is not my first time at the China Table Tennis College. I like it here and I will stay for three more weeks.” Nathan Xu.
Notably, Samadi Seyedmohammadamin enjoyed practising against one player in particular, Tyrese Knight from Barbados, a backspin player in the modern mode with a strong forehand top spin.
“I am still a Hopes category player and for me this was a good experience. I am not used to practising against players with a defensive playing style. The session with Tyrese Knight was great. At the end I managed to control ball better.” Samadi Seyedmohammadamin
Meanwhile, for Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the winner earlier this year of the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the 2017 ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships, having in 2016 been named the ITTF Dream Building Ambassador, he has a definite target on the horizon.
“I have already qualified for Youth Olympic Games; this is my main goal to play well in Buenos Aires. I need to work on my strokes. Here I practised mostly with Belorussian, Chinese and Australian players.” Youssef Abdel-Aziz
Players of a very good level with whom to practise; that fact was also appreciated by Egypt’s Marwa Alhodaby and Fiji’s Grace Yee.
“I am glad that the coaches recognized an improvement in my game. I need to work on my receive of service, especially the flick return.” Marwa Alhodaby
Notably Marwa Alhodaby Youssef Abdel-Aziz are both recipients of an “ITTF With the Future in Mind Scholarships”, as are Nadezda Bogdanova of Belarus and Grace Yee
“Recently I have been very active, many camps and competition opportunities for me; intensity is high but I still have to think of my school; here I have been doing my homework regularly.” Grace Yee
The Seamaster Training Camp 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 recently concluded Seamaster Training Camp plus a further such project next year. In addition a Youth Olympic Games Training Camp will be staged for those who have qualified to compete in Buenos Aires next year.