18 Mar 2019

Located on the border with Thailand, from Sunday 10th to Friday 15th March, Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, was the destination for aspiring young talents from neighbouring countries.

The ITECC Mall was the home for the 2019 South East Asia Regional Hopes Week and Challenge; a total of 12 boys and eight girls, born in 2007 and 2008, attended; in addition to Laos, players travelled from Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Expert on duty was Beh Lee Fong, the former player who had been the coach on duty for her native Malaysia at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games just under a year ago.

Notably a high level of attention was placed in making sure the basics were correct, to improve any aspects that cannot be changed during competition. Beh Lee Fong highlighted the importance of footwork and establishing a rhythm when playing, using multi-ball practices to enable players to learn quickly.

Training in progress (Photo: courtesy of Laos Table Tennis Federation)


Also, she emphasized the importance of service and receive, stressing that a player must have a good feeling for the ball and be able to return service in a variety of guises, varying from controlled short or long returns to being able to flick the ball in a positive manner to seize the initiative.

“My thanks to the coaches for sharing ideas in training; I hope that the many development plans to improve the level of the southeast will give young players like Joshua Lawrence Manlapaz the runner up in the Challenge tournament and the first Filipino player to qualify at Asian level, a chance to progress.” Beh Lee Fong

The local media took a great interest in the proceedings (Photo: courtesy of Laos Table Tennis Federation)


An intensely contested Challenge tournament witnessed success in the boys’ singles event for Singapore’s Nicholas Tan, who explained that he had enjoyed training in the camp and had technically improved each day.

Success for Singapore, in the girls’ singles event, it was success for Thailand. Pacharaphorn Chanvanitborikan finished ahead of Khemisrar Pacharaphorn with colleague Derujijaroen Khemisrar in second place followed by Malaysia’s, Gan Ai Lis. Winners and runners up qualify for the 2019 Asian Hopes Week and challenge; however, each national association is allowed only one boy and one girl participant; thus Gan Ai Lis qualifies.

Medalists and officials at the conclusion of the girls’ singles tournament (Photo: courtesy of Laos Table Tennis Federation)


Notably, prior to the Challenge tournament, a half day visit to famous places in Vientiane City was arranged.

“A special thank you goes to Somchay Vongsa from the Laos Table Tennis Federation, Chair of the Organising Committee and Secretary-General. Also to Christina Chee, the Laos Table Tennis Federation Technical Advisor for promoting the event and providing the best possible hospitality. Also my gratitude is extended to the Laos Table Tennis Federation, the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education and Sports. Thank you to Somphou Phongsa, Vice President and Secretary General of the Laos National Olympic Committee, for his encouraging words when presenting the medals. Also, thank you ITTF for this great experience.” Beh Lee Fong.

The 2019 Asian Hopes Week to be held in May in Bangkok, Thailand.

Podium for the boys’ event at the Challenge tournament (Photo: courtesy of Laos Table Tennis Federation)
High Performance and Development Coaching Beh Lee Fong