by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Previously Arif Khan had been present in the country in December 2015 to lead and Olympic Solidarity supported ITTF/PTT Level One Course.
“Here I was once again in Bhutan, a country that is filled with incredible beauty and with the most hospitable and extremely friendly people; always with a big smile on their faces ready to welcome you with open arms.” Arif Khan
Staged in the capital city of Thimpu throughout, overall, a total of 18 coaches attended the ITTF/PTT Level One Course, the majority being physical education teachers from local schools. They were welcomed by Karma Tshering, Secretary General of the Bhutan Table Tennis Association who was present at the Opening Ceremony alongside Namgay Wangchuk and Tshering Zangmo from the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
Namgay Wangchuk is Head of the Sports and Research Development Division. Tshering Zangmo is the Programme Officer.
Two sessions were held each day; in the morning from 9.00am to 12.00 noon, in the afternoon from 1.00pm to 4.00pm.
“During the five days’ course the coaches worked very hard to absorb all the information provided, I must say that I was very impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the coaches to learn all the aspects of the game and asking questions on things if they did not understand.” Arif Khan
All the coaches responded to the efforts of Arif Khan, notably 17 students achieved the required pass mark and now must complete the 30 hours of practical coaching in order to gain certification. Notably, one member in particular, Miss Richen Lhamo, a physical education teacher, stressed the fact that the detailed nature of the itinerary made the course superior to other such initiatives she had attended.
Furthermore, all clearly appreciated the efforts of Arif Khan, on the last day a very pleasant dinner party was arranged by all the coaches in his honour.
Matters concluded on Saturday 22nd July; the next day a Training Camp was held for young players in the Hopes age group category.
“The main objective was to provide the coaches from the ITTF/PTT Level One course a chance to gain practical experience by coaching these kids. Also on the request of the coaches, I gave them the details on how to be an umpire and how to conduct the matches; it was a very good experience for them.” Arif Khan
A one day Hopes Training Camp concluded, the next day a training session for members of both the senior and junior national teams was held. A total of 16 players attended, the group including four girls. Arif Khan organized a full itinerary, including multi-ball practice to which all responded.
Positive responses from coaches, players and officials; proceedings concluded with a Closing Ceremony organized by Karma Tshering, followed by a dinner which Mr. Tshering Zangmo attended.
Prior to the dinner, discussions were held with the coaches on the most productive way to fulfil the 30 hours of coaching. Karma Tshering and Arif Khan made positive suggestions as to the best way forward.
Later in the evening with guests present for the dinner Sonan Karma, one of the distinguished guests present, thanked the Bhutan Table Tennis Federation for their efforts and in particular paid tribute to Thomas Weikert, ITTF President and Glenn Tepper, ITTF Executive Vice President for their support and encouragement.
“I would like to thank Mr. Karma Tshering for providing his assistance, full support and co-operation by his presence throughout the course despite his busy schedule; also my thanks to Mrs Tshering Zangmo for providing support and co-operation in conducting this course successfully.” Arif Khan
Progress was undoubtedly made and there is more on the horizon. It is anticipated that a new hall, dedicated to table tennis will be opened in June 2018; initial construction work has begun.