by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Notably it was a return to the island for Togo’s Kaka Lawson, he had been present two years earlier to conduct a Developing a National Sport Structure Course, likewise supported by Olympic Solidarity, a total of 15 students attended.
Most certainly his return was welcomed, none more so than by Jean Herley Ambinitsoarivelo, the President of the Madagascar Table Tennis Federation.
“The Coaching Course and Training Camp are the logical continuations of the Developing a National Sports Structure Course organised in Madagascar in 2016. It included two ITTF Level One Courses for primary school and for physical education teachers; the aim being to promote table tennis in schools. The reason the Federation requested the presence of Kaka Lawson is so that the work previously conducted could be assessed and continued.” Jean Herley Ambinitsoarivelo
Kaka Lawson (far left) with local officials from the Madagascar Table Tennis Federation (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)
Just as two years ago, Kaka Lawson motivated the group, several of the members having attended the ITTF/PTTF Level One Course two years ago.
“The gap between the Level One and Level Two courses is very significant. I could not imagine that the training of table tennis in particular and sport in general could require for so much scientific knowledge.” Jasmin Andriamparany
“I really liked the psychological sessions. I was able to understand the importance of mental preparation, which was not obvious to me before this course.” Beatrice Ravelo
A successful course conducted, the next stop was some Tamatave some 200 miles distant for the Training Camp.
“The training camp in Tamatave was just as stimulating as the coaches course, the children were very excited being helped by another coach. It increased their dynamism and determination. It provided them with additional enthusiasm and motivation. The aim was to have fun, expend energy and improve the level of table tennis.” Kaka Lawson
All the children responded, a nine year old girl named Oceane summed up the response perfectly.
“I would like the Camp to never end. I’m very impatient every morning to get back to training hall to resume a new practice session; I’m very happy, I worked very well, I had fun. I want to progress with my table tennis. I am very happy.” Oceane
Smiling faces as Kaka Lawson (far right) gives advice (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)
Every effort in being made in Madagascar to promote young players; a fact of which Kaka Lawson is well aware and was quick to congratulate all concerned on the efforts being made.
The task now is to capitalise on the enthusiasm that is clearly present and, in the long term be able to compete with the best in Africa.
It is a major challenge but without doubt, the spirit is willing; as they say where there’s a will there’s a way.