05 Jul 2018

The 2018 United States National Championships began on Monday 2nd July with players from all over the country acompeting at Las Vegas Convention Center.

It is an intense week of matches but the week is also a chance to show the best of ourselves through table tennis. ITTF Foundation and Joola USA, through Sport Squad Inc., have agreed to collect material for table tennis projects around the world.

by Romina Concha Sepulveda, ITTF Foundation Consultant

The agreement was reached within the framework of the ITTF Foundation NeTTworking Programme, the objective is to create a platform connecting members of the worldwide table tennis community with each other.

Through NeTTworking, members can share materials, knowledge and human resources to ensure a better distribution and an access to the game for more people.

On this occasion, the projects targeted are the Universal Language and Power of Sport to Build Bridges, refugees in Greece and Italy and Dream Building in El Salvador.

The first project is organised by the Brighton Table Tennis Club, an English club convinced of the power of table tennis to involve people of all ages in order to transform lives; notably, including the integration to refugees in local communities. After years of good practice in England, they are now sharing their knowledge and expanding their work to Sicily and Athens.

In Catania, Sicily, the club Ping Pong Midula uses table tennis to bring people together and keep them away from the dangerous streets of one of the poorest districts in the area. Within the target groups are disadvantaged children, other marginalised groups and refugees. In Athens, materials are also be used in clubs which integrate refugees into their communities.

Materials needed for this project are: rackets, balls, nets, ideally table and club equipment such as scorers.

The second project, Dream Building in El Salvador, is administered by the El Salvador Table Tennis Federation, in co-operation with the International Table Tennis Federation; a project which commenced in 2011. The Central American country suffered a 12 years of civil war involving a military dictatorship and guerrilla warfare. In addition, economic problems and unemployment have resulted inmassive migration, mainly to the United States. The result is the population has fallen to three million.

Some of social impacts are family disintegration, children without proper supervision and proliferation of gangs, locally called “Maras”. It is one of the problems that the project fights against. Dream Building in Salvador started in 11 communities and has grown over the years to 18 communities. Between 1,300 and 1,600 children and youth are involved.

Materials needed for this project are: rackets, balls, nets and tables.

Donations will be collected by Joola USA during the 2018 United Stated National Championships, concluding on Saturday 7th July

Sicily and Athens: contact Brighton Table Tennis Club through Facebook: @brightonttc.

El Salvador, contact the El Salvador Table Tennis Federation on Facebook @fesalteme, twitter @fesaltemeESA or via http://fesalteme.org

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ITTF Foundation 2018 United States National Championships