by Ian Marshall, Editor
Organised under the auspices of the ITTF Foundation, the initiative was supported by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund – DOSB), the German Table Tennis Association (Deutscher Tischtennisbund – DTTB) and the “Education Programme for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities” administered by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH – GIZ).
“Turkey now hosts the world’s largest community of Syrians displaced by the ongoing conflict in their country.” Ahmed Dawlatly
Matters commenced on Monday 2nd July, with a workshop being held in Gaziantep for coaches who had been present the previous year on a course organised by Ahmed Dawlatly. In 2017 he had led successful workshops in Gaziantep and Sanliurfa; Kirikhan was a logical choice for a third.
“Many Syrians who come here to Kirikhan, sometimes will already have family here; DOSB, GIZ include Kirikhan in their project for the purpose of promoting and enhancing social cohesion between the Turkish and Syrian societies.”.” Ahmed Dawlatly
Thus, beginning on Tuesday 3rd July, a three day workshop was organised in Kirikhan. A total of 17 students, 11 men and six women, from both Syria and Turkey attended, the venue being a well-equipped governorate building.
“There was a wide diversity of participants; teachers, beginners, players from other sports and even a football coach. It brought strength and added a special flavour for a workshop that had one thing in mind; achieving full co-operation by using our wonderful sport of table tennis”. Ahmed Dawlatly
Later a festival for children was staged on Friday 6th July; an event in which most notably Mustafa Erkayiran, the District Governor of Kirikhan and Ayhan Yavuz, the Mayor of Kirikhan, attended.
Matters concluded in Kirikan, attention now turned to Gaziantep, where Ahmed Dawlatly conducted a workshop that built on the one he had conducted the previous year in May.
An enthusiastic group, the current situation was assessed, members of the group reflected on the previous workshop; they explained the problems faced and discussed possible solutions whilst also outlining possible future initiatives.
“My thanks to Sevda Akgün from DOSB, Mehemmet Emin, the Officer of Sport for International Relations, Petul Orta, the Project coordinator and Jasmin Dirinpur from GIZ.” Ahmed Dawlatly
Proceedings concluded on Monday 9th July with detailed meetings being held with Sascha Bozic from basketball and Petul Orta from DOSB with the view of preparing manuals for the various sports.