by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The involvement between the Agency and the small South American country dates back to 1968 when Japanese teachers taught physical education in local schools.
Later, starting in 2011, volunteers began to arrive to work in liaison with the El Salvador Table Tennis Federation, supporting the “Nittaku Dream Building Project”; under the guidance of Carlos Esnard, the Technical Director, the initiative was focused on introducing table tennis to the local communities.
“The El Salvador Table Tennis Federation thanks the government of Japan for its support, through JICA. The lives of many children and young people have been changed; the support has marked an important advance in the national development of table tennis.” Carlos Esnard
Most pertinently, during the ceremony Aida Michelle Diaz, from Perquin in the Morazan department attended one of the sessions organised under the auspices of the Nittaku Dream Building Project. Support and advice from the volunteers, in 2017 she won the Under 11 Girls’ Singles event at the National Championships whilst also representing El Salvador at the Central American Council of Sports and Recreation (CODICADER) Games.
Additionally, she gained a bronze medal in the Under 11 Girls’ Singles event at the El Salvador Junior and Cadet Open.
She was present at the Ceremony where she received a special award in recognition of her efforts.
Overall, in recent years, a total of 16 volunteers from Japan have taught table tennis to some 3,000 young people in El Salvador, a quite prodigious number.