11 Oct 2018

The destination is Slovenia; once again journey’s end is Otocec, located in the south east of the country; currently it is the host for a Eurotalents Selection Camp.

Directed by Neven Cegnar, the Development Manager of the European Table Tennis Union and organised in liaison with ITTF High Performance and Development, proceedings commenced on Sunday 7th October and will conclude on Sunday 14th October.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A total of 33 players, 19 boys and 14 girls, selected from the Pre-Selection Camp held earlier this year in Kiskunfelegyhaza and the Eurominichamps tournament staged in Schiltingheim, are present alongside 18 coaches; the principal coaches being Slovenia’s Andreja Ojstersek Urh and Germany’s Lara Brouich.

Following the conclusion of proceedings based on a detailed evaluation process, a group of players will be selected for next year’s Eurotalents Under 13 Years Training Camps; responsible for evaluation alongside Neven Cegnar is a panel of highly experienced professionals.

Bronze medallist in the Men’s Team event at the 1969 World Championships, when in those days representing the country known as Yugoslavia, lining up alongside Zlatko Cordas, Anton Stipancic, Dragutin Surbek and Edvard Vecko; Istvan Korpa is arguably the most celebrated member amongst the evaluator. Additionally, at the 1971 World Championships, he was also Men’s Team bronze medallist, when joining forces with Zlatko Cordas, Milivoj Karakasevic, Anton Stipancic and Dragutin Surbek.

However, most pertinently when playing days were over, for the German Table Tennis Association he was the coach of an aspiring young teenager, a certain Timo Boll.

Meanwhile adding a most valued objective perspective to the selection process is the host nation’s Dr. Miran Kondric, the Chair of the ITTF Sports Science and Medical Committee alongside Germany’s Michael Fuchs, who most recently alongside Irene Faber and Martin Lames, was responsible for the special issue of the Journal of Sports Sciences dedicated to table tennis, released on Sunday 30th September.

Young players with bright futures are present and should their long term goal not be to emulate those who were present in Otocec just over six months ago? Earlier April at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa and Miyu Kato won the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles title.

The success gained by Mizuki Oikawa and Miyu Kato reflects the progress that has been made in the Land of the Rising Sun this century; their depth of talent has never been greater and the success gained by their teenagers never higher.

In Otocec young players have the chance to learn, the chance to improve but also coaches have the opportunity to exchange thoughts and should Japan not be the talking point? Does the Land of the Rising Sun not set the example for European countries to follow?

High Performance and Development Coaching Neven Cegnar Andreja Ojstersek Urh Michael Fuchs Istvan Korpa Lara Brouich. Miran Kondric