28 Aug 2018

Time and again the venue for Latin American tournaments, the Parque del Este, situated in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, was the home the Caribbean Hopes Week and Challenge from Monday 20th to Saturday 25th August.

A most promising group of young players born in 2007 and 2008 attended; in addition to the hosts, players from Jamaica, Puerto Rico as well as Trinidad and Tobago were present.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Matters were under the direction Venezuela’s Luisana Perez who was assisted by Puerto Rico’s Alexis Pietri, Trinidad and Tobago’s Verna Edwards, in addition to Jamaica’s Richard Davidson and Dale Parham. Also on duty was the Dominican Republic’s Madeleine Armas and Sergio Martinez.

Additional to playing a major role in the training sessions, all had the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences through workshops and classes before and after training.

“The most important topics were the objectives of the training session, the exercises and the evaluation of system to identify talents. All the information received made us aware that we must keep up-to-date in the way we teach table tennis, especially to children.” Sergio Martínez

“Luisana is a great professional; she showed a great deal of energy when teaching. It was noticed by the parents. All the activities were very well structured.” Alexi Pietri

“On each trip I meet colleagues who are coaches at competitions; it is an honor to be the facilitator of the camps and courses; for several years I have been contributing with my experience and knowledge in the Hopes Programme. Experience in the 2016 Hopes Continental Weeks and 2017 Mentorship Programme under the tutelage of Eva Jeler, have been very meaningful and instructive; we all learn collectively.”

Learning and there was an extra dimension. Notably Verna Edwards is an International Referee, she gave a lesson on regulations.

“My thanks to all the participants for their commitment during the week; we really made a great team. We focused on the objectives of control and direction, as well as foot work and service.” Luisana Perez

An intense schedule but there was a break. A visit to the Santo Domingo Zoo on Thursday afternoon was organised; the wildlife surprised everyone.

A surprise for players; there was also a surprise for Luisana Perez who during the week celebrated her birthday, secretly a cake was organised.

“It was the best cake birthday cake I’ve ever eaten. Not because of its taste, although it was also very good but because of the company; there could not have been a better gift.” Luisana Perez

Matters closed with the players receiving certificates and Juan Vila, the President of the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation, thanking all concerned.

“It is the second camp we have organised in the country. It has been an extraordinary experience for the coaches, the players and the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation is committed to supporting young players and keeping them within the system.” Juan Vila

The players who attended were Puerto Rico’s Liara Rivera and Yadier Lopez alongside Jamaica’s Azizi Johnson and Neaeh Alanna Scott, in addition to Trinidad and Tobago’s Chloe Fraser and Jhon Gabriel; they joined the host nation’s Shary Muñoz and Rafael Cabrera. Furthermore, practice partners from the Dominican Republic were present. Overall 16 players took part.

Most significantly, Liara Rivera received a WhatsApp message for compatriot Adriana Diaz.

“It was very nice to receive that message and that support because it motivated me to classify for the Continent Week.” Lara Rivera

The players selected for Continental Hopes Week to be held next month in October in the same venue were Shary Muñoz, Liara Rivera, Rafael Cabrera and Azizi Johnson; all excelled in the Challenge tournament.

2018 ITTF Hopes Luisana Perez