15 May 2019

Staged in Thailand´s capital city, Bangkok, at the Singapore International School and organised under the auspices of ITTF High Performance and Development, the Asia Hopes Week and Challenge was organised from Monday 6th to Monday 13th May.

The head coach on duty Slovenia’s Joze Urh assisted by Malaysia’s Beh Lee Fong.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Overall, in addition to four practice partners from the local association, a total of 10 boys and 10 girls, born in 2007 and 2008 attended; the premises proving ideal for a high level training camp.

Notably 14 national associations were represented. In addition to Thailand players and coaches from India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Syria attended.

“Before the final tournament we organised a six day training camp where the players worked very hard. The main target of this camp was for the players to understand the importance of the different types of rotation on the ball; we set exercises and games for changing spin and speed.” Jose Urh

A detailed plan was put in place in order to realise the goals set; predominantly during the second session play each day, the focus was directed towards the coaches working on individual practices with their players. The end result both Beh Lee Fong and Joze Urh were pleased with the outcome.

Words of advice for a promising young player (Photo: Jose Urh)


The targets set during the training sessions reached; the aim for the players in the tournament was to secure one of the three places available for boys and three for girls allocated to Asia for the World Hopes Week and Challenge in July in Oman.

In each of the boys’ and girls’ singles events the first stage of the Challenge tournament comprised two groups, each with five players; the players finishing in first and second positions in each group advancing to compete for the top four places.

Kazakhstan’s Alan Kurmangaliyev emerged the boys’ singles winner beating India’s Oishik Ghosh in a full distance five games final; third position and thus qualification for the World Hopes Week and Challenge was secured by the host nation’s Pheempope Pheempope, he finished ahead of Singapore’s Nicholas Tan.

“The final match was on a very high level considering the players were only 12 years old.” Joze Urh

The girls’ singles podium (Photo: Jose Urh)


Meanwhile, India won the girls’ singles event, Sayani Panda beating Fathimath Dheema from the Maldives in the final. Next in line was Malaysia’s Gan Ai Lis, she overcame Iran’s Tara Souri to gain third position.

“Both players in the girls’ final showed good technical skills; all the matches were very even and very interesting, Sayani Panda proving the slightly stronger. All the players were very motivated, it was good to be in the hall watching these matches.” Joze Urh

Matters concluded with a well-organized award ceremony; present for the occasion was Kevin Koh, the SSIB Chief Executive Officer alongside Piradej Pruttipruk, President of the Table Tennis Association of Thailand and Afshin Badie, the Development Manager for the Asian Table Tennis Union.

The boys’ singles podium (Photo: Jose Urh)
High Performance and Development Coaching 2019 ITTF Hopes Jose Urh Beh Lee Fong