29 Jan 2019

Increasingly a nation to note on the international scene, from Sunday 13th to Friday 18th January, the first ever ITTF Level Two Course exclusively for women was staged in Iran.

Organised under the auspices of ITTF High Performance and Development in conjunction with the Asian Table Tennis Union and the Table Tennis Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran; the venue was the National Training Hall located at the Enghelab Sport Complex, Tehran.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Under the guidance of Malaysia’s Christina Chee, a highly successful initiative was completed; a total of 20 dedicated ladies, representing 13 provinces, attended, on several occasions studying until the midnight hour.

Most significantly, it was a highly knowledgeable group; impressively 70 per cent of the course members held Doctorates or Masters Degrees. Also many had played at national or provincial level.

“Each session was extended by 40 minutes owing to translation into Farsi of the ITTF English Advanced Level Two Manual. The efforts of Sima Limochi, an ITTF/PTT Level One Course Conductor, were greatly appreciated; she proved an excellent translator.” Christina Chee

The welcome address (left to right) Mahmood Nazori, Sima Limoochi and Christina Chee (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


Moreover Sima Limoochi and Christina Chee were old friends; they had met in 2007 at the first ITTF Level One Women’s Course Conductor training under Glenn Tepper in Belgrade, Serbia.

“They were all so highly educated, I was challenged with high level questioning. Iran currently has the highest percentage of women table tennis coaches in the world.” Christina Chee

A training session in progress (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


Everyone responded to the efforts of Christina Chee, the technical cards which highlighted key points being particularly welcomed.

“I was impressed with Christina’s passion for the sport. The first part on rules of sport, the etiquettes and values were very important; a philosophy from which every professional can start.” Sima Limoochi

Equally Zahra Niaghina, likewise a course member, was impressed.

“All aspects of sports education and sports science were very informative and useful for coaches and for me especially now I’m coaching the National Hopes. I gained both theoretical knowledge and practical understanding.” Zahra Niaghina

Physical exercise a vital part of the itinerary (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


Notably the course attracted a great deal of local publicity; excellent promotion for women’s table tennis in Iran.

“I was interviewed on the second day by National Sport Radio, a 24 hours radio programme; exclusively for sport with a large audience. On the fifth day, myself together with two of the course members were interviewed by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Sports News Network with regard to this first ITTF Level Two Coach Education Coaching Course for women, the aim to produce future Olympians.” Christina Chee

Christina Chee interviewed by the Islamic Republic of Iran Sports News Network (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


An intense itinerary in the training hall; also it was a busy time away from the playing arena. Meetings were held with leading members of the Table Tennis Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Prior to the course starting there were discussions over the breakfast table with Mahmood Nazori, the Secretary-General, followed by deliberations with Peyman Abolhassani, the Education and Training Director as well as Shahrokh Shahnazi, Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee and Honorary Deputy President of the Asian Table Tennis Union.

Alongside Peyman Abolhassani (left), Christina Chee (centre) met (right) Shahrokh Shahnazi (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


Wide ranging issues were addressed; all very much in agreement as the best way to make continued progress.

Matters discussed included Olympic Solidarity supported programmes and scholarships, technical courses for coaches, the development of a national sports system and gender equality.

The visit of Mehrdad Aligardashi (front second from left) was a major motivating factor (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)


Later on the second day it was deliberations with Fatemeh Keyvani, Vice President, before on the third day the person with whom ideas were exchanged was Mehrdad Aligardashi, the President.

“My appreciation to the ITTF High Performance and Development Programme, the Asian Table Tennis Union and the Table Tennis Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran for their support. Also thank you to Mr. Peyman Abolhassani, to Faeze Tabrizifar, for organising excellent facilities as well as to Mehrdad Aligardashi and to all the coaches, many of whom travelled long distances. Sepas in Farsi means “thank you”, my thanks to all for the kind hospitality and professionalism shown.” Christina Chee

A most successful course, the end result, all passed with high grades.

A gift for Christina Chee (centre), a mark of respect from (left) Peyman Abolhassani and (right) Shahrokh Shahnazi (Photo: courtesy of Christina Chee)
High Performance and Development Christina Chee