11 Sep 2017

Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Development Programme, commencing on Saturday 19th August, the first stage of an Olympic Solidarity Developing a National Sports Structure course in the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis, concluded on Sunday 10th September.

Led by Spain’s Ramon Ortega Montes, alias Moncho, the Latin American Table Tennis Union’s Development Officer; the second part is scheduled to commence on Sunday 8th October and conclude on Friday 3rd November, when the expert on duty will be Switzerland’s Georg Silberschmidt.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Every course has its memories and I am quite sure the visit to St Kitts and Nevis will live long in the memory of Moncho; on the morning of Wednesday 6th September, the Caribbean was hit my Hurricane Irma.

A category five hurricane, the highest possible, the biggest ever known in that part of the world, many of the islands, especially  Antigua and Barbuda were decimated; St Kitts and Nevis was spared the very worst but experienced considerable damage and loss of utilities.

“For me it was the very first time to live through a hurricane and I was excited being here while Irma was coming. We were lucky that the eye of the hurricane didn´t cross Saint Kitts. However, there was a great deal of damage; especially to trees and plants”. Moncho

Overall during his three week visit, Moncho completed two ITTF Club Coach Courses which 22 students attended, eight being women. Notably 12 of the course members were Physical Education teachers or taught in secondary schools; the idea being to introduce table tennis into the curriculum, as well as being an after school activity. Importantly, the national association will help provide equipment; a talent identification initiative is also planned.

Similarly, targets were established for the national team, whilst away from the training hall it was also a very busy time for Moncho.

Pertinently, he held meetings with Calvin Lake, the President of the St Kitts and Nevis Tables Tennis Association plus leading officials including Urban Freeman, in order to determine goals and plan the best way forward. both in the short term for the visit of Georg Silberscmidt and in the long term.

“There is a lot of work to be done and we need to fix many things to have everything in place for the next visit.” Urban Freeman

Additionally, he visited the National Olympic Committee, the Department of Youth and Sports from Nevis, the Secretary of the Ministry of Education in Nevis and the principals of two local secondary schools.

“What we want is to build table tennis in the country and to have many children playing. After the meetings we had, it’s clear that we need to bring table tennis to the schools.” Calvin Freeman

Furthermore, Moncho had the opportunity to broaden his sporting education; he went to watch the sport for which the English speaking countries in the Caribbean have over the years have produced some of the greatest who ever lived.

He went to watch St Kitts and Nevis Patriots play St Lucia Stars in a one day cricket match; whatever next for Moncho?

Now he survived a hurricane but could he survive a test cricket match where after five days there is no result?

High Performance and Development Coaching Ramon Ortega Montes