by Ian Marshall, Editor
The course and the training camp were both staged at the Salesianos Technical College where table tennis is one of the eight sports; overall eight table tennis tables were used of which seven are based permanently at the college.
A total of 15 coaches attended, three travelled from neighbouring Colombia plus seven from other cities in Ecuador, a country of different climates. There are the heights of Cuenca and Quito, at sea level there the likes of Guayaquil and Salinas; in the forests of Amazonas, there is the province of Napo. Moreover, in English, the name Ecuador translates to Equator.
Notably, thanks to the teaching skills of Christian Lillieroos, all 13 coaches who sat the test passed the course; somewhat unusual, it was a good group. Later, nine course members attended the Training Camp, an opportunity to meet the practical requirements for qualification.
Player and coaches at the Training Camp (Photo: Christian Lillieroos)
Overall 12 Para athletes participated in the training camp; one wheelchair athlete, eight standing; also, three Class 11 players, the category for those with an intellectual disability. In addition ten able bodied junior players assisted.
“The most recognized athlete was Paul Polo; Class 8, he won a bronze medal at the 2015 Para Pan American Games; alongside, his team mate David Vasquez also Class 8 and from Cuenca, they have a good chance to become the first Ecuadorians to qualify for a Paralympic Games. David Vaszquez is 24 years old and until four years ago played able bodied tennis for his high school team. He then discovered table tennis and switched right away, seeing that he had a good chance of competing against athletes of similar function in international competitions. The strongest female athlete in the camp was Cynthia Martinez, 20 years old, Class 7. In only three days of intense training, everyone made a significant improvement. ” Christian Lillieroos
Players and coaches from Guayaquil with (third from left) Christian Lillieroos (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)
Furthermore, each day 30 minute Training Camp administration sessions were held in order to help the coaches plan effective sessions.
“To be a Para Table Tennis coach is with 11 different classes, 11 times more difficult than to be a coach for able bodied athletes. Five out of the 30 hours have to be with Para athletes. Eight coaches were able to pass their five supervised hours and are well on their way to be certified.” Christian Lillieroos
Christian Lillieroos addresses members of the Training Camp to bring proceedings to a close (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)
However, throughout, the level of understanding and knowledge was high.
“Special thanks go to Paul Calle who was present almost every day and to Guillermo Ramon, Treasurer of the Ecuador Table Tennis Federation. He was the local organizer for both the Course and the Training Camp. He attended to all the details of the programme with perfection; this was one of the best organized ITTF programmes I have ever attended in the world.
Throughout Christian Lillieroos was assisted by Tatiana Nieto, Rolando Fuentes and Santiago Neptali Chang Herrera.
The coaches who guided matters (left to right) Tatiana Nieto, Rolando Fuentes, Christian Lillieroos and Santiago Neptali Chang Herrera (Photo: courtesy of Christian Lillieroos)