by Dora Jeler, ITTF High Performance and Development Operations Manager
Extensive discussions and consultations have led to a development project being realized based on the needs of the national associations within the African Table Tennis Federation; thus complying with the principles of the ITTF Strategic Plan. Most significantly, the terms of this highly comprehensive document can be implemented immediately.
“I’m really happy about the fact that the two biggest continents in terms of membership signed the new Continental Development Memorandum of Understanding and will therefore be able to benefit from all the new opportunities and incentives offered through the enriched Continental Development Programme portfolio. We hope that this co-operation will boost the development of table tennis in these respective continents and further strengthen our efforts ultimately aiming at an overall growth of the sport, from the technical and also commercial point of view”. Thomas Weikert
Significantly, the overall amount allocated to specific development projects will increase by nearly 28 per cent; thus enabling current regional programmes and activities related to national associations within the continent to be further promoted. The main objective of this revision is mainly to ensure an efficient use of ITTF investments in accordance with the principle of good governance. Major revisions to the former Agreement of Understanding, both quantitatively and qualitatively were made in terms of support for the 54 African member national associations.
The Memorandum of Understanding is based on four main pillars:
…………the new concept of “Grassroots Development Projects” which target national associations with the greatest needs; these projects require the most support and follow-up, this has been addressed with an increase in the duration of the support and also in the quality of operation.
…………the allocation of equipment aid, uniform to all national associations regardless of need or category; with the new Memorandum, equipment packages will be assigned according to national association needs, ranging from a “Basic Package” to a “Competition Package”. Thus more stakeholders will benefit.
…………high performance is addressed and supported with the introduction of the Regional and Continental Challenge (for Hopes and Cadets) which will provide a seamless pathway from an early age to junior level for young African players. It will fill the existing gap by strengthening talent identification programmes.
…………regional co-operation through the recruitment of new “Regional Development Officers”. They will have the important task of accompanying and supporting national associations, to provide strong pathways for all stakeholders to achieve from community to high performance. Thus encouraging regional co-operation in their own region.
“We are so keen in Africa to use such new budget for the best possible promotion to all associations and regions of grassroots development projects, high performance continental programmess, long term priorities, training centres and professional staff assignments. We will try hard through the Executive Committee and all regions and associations involved in Africa to follow-up the revised Memorandum of Understanding to promote all projects and programmes.” Khaled El-Salhy
Support for Para Table Tennis and women activities has also been significantly increased, in alignment with the new ITTF Strategic Plan priorities.