26 Mar 2018

Tunis, situated on the banks of a Mediterranean gulf, was the home for the recent 2018 North Africa Hopes Week and Challenge; the event taking place just prior to the commencement of the Tunisian Junior and Cadet Open in Rades, a half an hour drive distant.

Proceedings commenced on Monday 12th March and concluded on Sunday 18th March; the venue was the hall of the Tunisian Table Tennis Federation located in the Olympic city, the expert on duty was Egypt’s Ahmed Dawlatly.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

An event with an eye on the future but it was in a city, once known as Carthage, whose history, dates back beyond the sands of time.

“Tunisia’s accessible sea coastline and strategic location have attracted conquerors and visitors throughout the ages; its ready access to the Sahara has brought its people into contact with the inhabitants of the African interior. According to Greek legend, Dido, a Princess of Tyre, was the first outsider to settle among the native tribes of what is now Tunisia, when she founded the city of Carthage in the 9th century BC.” Ahmed Dawlatly

Each day comprised two training sessions, a workshop to promote discussion and a lecture for both players and coaches.

Overall 17 players attended, 13 boys and four girls, all from Tunisia with one exception; a young man from Libya. Hriz Homrana, born in 2007, was accompanied by his father and travelled despite the difficult conditions his country.

“All participants showed a very good technical level, many promising talents were identified. Mortadha Badri suffered a forearm injury, Mareim Hamrouni suffered from stomach ache but despite their injuries in the last two days of the camp, they insisted to continue their participation, showing a great deal of courage and sense of responsibility.” Ahmed Dawlatly

In addition from Tunisia, five coaches were present in addition to one referee and four umpires.

“My thanks to the five dedicated coaches from Tunisia for their help and friendly attitude throughout the whole week.” Ahmed Dawlatly

Coaches and officials; also distinguished guests were present. Lotfi Guerfel, President of Tunisia Table Tennis Federation was present as was Mourad Sta, a former national team player now with a high-profile person in Tunisian Ministry of Sport.

Both were most welcome and added to a most successful initiative; in Tunis plenty of hope.

 Day One: South American Junior and Cadet Championships
Photos: courtesy of Ahmed Dawlatly

High Performance and Development 2018 ITTF Hopes Ahmed Dawlatly