by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The main aim was to help young players enhance their fundamental knowledge of the sport of table tennis; to understand the techniques and skills necessary to progress to high level. Education was very much on the agenda.
At the conclusion of the training camp, the evaluation team comprising Li Xiaodong, Zhang Yining, Xia Cheng, Martin Ostermann and Neven Cegnar selected the three boys and three girls who will attend the ITTF Hopes Week and Challenge in Alicante, Spain from Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August.
Technical training focused on forehand attack, backhand attack, footwork, counter top spin, long rallies, serve, serve and attack, return of serve and multi-ball exercises. Throughout, maintaining a high quality of practice was fundamental. Notably the practice partners were young Chinese players.
In addition, attention was paid to physical training, workshops were staged; overall a very comprehensive programme was organised one which was universally approved. Furthermore there were long days, it was wake up at 7.15 am, lights out and sleep at 10.00 pm.
During the camp a tournament was held on Tuesday 3rd April to determine a ranking, later on Sunday 8th April a further event was staged, giving the coaches an opportunity to watch the players in competitive action and monitor progress.
Following the training camp the players selected were Ireland’s Sophie Earley, Romania’s Iona Baiasu and Hungary’s Nora Tanacs; for the boys it was Romania’s Julian Chirita, the Czech Republic’s Stepan Brehel and Turkey’s Dursun Ugurcan