21 Aug 2017

Located in the Caribbean, a Commonwealth country, earlier this year Jamaica hosted an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course; organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, proceedings were conducted over a period of two weekends.

The first sessions were held from Saturday 15th to Monday 17th April, the second on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April; the course conductor was Donald Salmon.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A total of 14 students attended at a most celebrated venue; the home was the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, in Spanish Town, the old capital of Jamaica.

The full time educational institution is named after Gerald Claude Eugene Foster. He was born in Kingston on Monday 30th November 1885 and became a celebrated sprinter, one of the very best in the world but was denied the chance of an Olympic medal. He travelled to England in 1908 for the London Olympic Games on a banana boat but on arrival was told he could not compete, as at the time Jamaica was not a member of the International Olympic Committee.

However, a century later, in 2008; arguably the greatest sprinter of all time ran his first official 100 metres race at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports; a certain Usain Bolt. The rest as they say is history.

“The institution is a gift from the late Fidel Castro of Cuba and was opened in 1980. It might be said that Jamaica’s rise to the top in the world of sprinting in athletics may owe its dominance to this college.” Donald Salmon

Understandably the majority of the students on the course came from the local area but one notable member travelled 35 miles each day. Desrine Greaves, a former Jamaican international, was the lady in question; her enthusiasm was reflected in the fact that she was always punctual.

“Desrine is passionate about establishing her own table tennis club to mentor the next generation of players in her community.” Donald Salmon

She was one of four female course members, notably two in number being only 19 years old; some years the junior of the most senior member, Hurbun Williams, a national of Trinidad and Tobago.

Overall seven members of the course reached the necessary requirements and must now complete 30 hours of coaching to gain the ITTF/PTT Level One certificate.

“This new cadre of coaches will help in the development of table tennis in Jamaica. The dream of standardizing coaching methodology in Jamaica is no more a dream but a reality with all coaches reading from the same manual.” Donald Salmon

Notably Alf Remekie, Vice Principal of G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, was most impressed with the splendid efforts of Donald Salmon. He was very much of the opinion that students from the college will attend future such courses.

High Performance and Development Coaching Donald Salmon