by Ian Marshall, Editor
Led by Thailand’s Parinya Nonsagate, in addition to players from the host nation, young aspirants travelled from Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka; all being born in either 2007 or 2008.
Each day during the training camp two sessions were held; the first from 9.30 am to 12.00 noon, the second from 5.00 pm to 7.30 pm.
A most constructive schedule was organized, starting with regular exercises and then progressing gradually to more irregular patterns of play; in addition Parinya Nonsagate paid attention to accuracy setting a series of target points. Also, service, receive of service, being adroit over the table when required to flick the ball or play short with feeling were highlighted; meanwhile to improve technical qualities, multi-ball practices were also featured.
“The practices included controlling the ball with both forehand and backhand, moving backwards and forwards as well as sideways. Most importantly, basic footwork and balance was addressed, attention to speed and power being addressed as the week continued.” Parinya Nonsagate
Additionally, during the training camp matches starting at 8-all were introduced; the top table principle being introduced; winners moving in one direction, losers in opposite. All coaches concerned explained the reason for the exercise; the goal being to improve focus.
“My thanks to the programme host, India, great preparation in every aspect. We all received a warm welcome and enjoyed a good environment for practice. We really appreciated the efforts of all concerned; there was extremely good sportsmanship and co-operation.” Parana Nonsagate
Training sessions completed, in each of the boys’ and girls’ events at the Challenge, the all-play-all format was followed. Exceeding expectations, remaining unbeaten, Fathimath Dheema, the first ever player to compete in an Asian Hopes Week and Challenge from the small island of Maldives, won the girls’ event; the runner up being the host nation’s Sayani Panda; her only defeat being at the hands of Fathimath Dheema.
Meanwhile for the boys, India dominated; Oushik Ghoshi emerged unbeaten to reserve first position ahead of Emon Adikari, whose only defeat was at the hands of Oushik Ghoshi.