by Dora Jeler, High Performance and Development Operations Manager
Proceedings were led by ITTF expert, Germany’s Eva Jeler, an internationally renowned coach with great experience conducting ITTF Talent Identification Programmes. She was assisted by Tunisia’s Ramzi Mabrouk, ITTF Africa Development Manager, who served as the African expert.
Seven African national associations participated; in addition to the hosts, players and coaches from Congo-Brazzaville, Tunisia, Egypt, Rwanda and Uganda attended. Overall a most impressive total of 34 athletes attended, of whom 12 were girls, in addition to 10 coaches were present.
Venue for the training camp was the Maman Angebi Hall, premises which contained eight training tables. Due to the large number of participating players, training sessions were held in shifts; two training groups of players and coaches practicing consecutively.
Everybody practised very hard; all participants were eager to learn something new, to develop the level of their own style further and to prepare well for the Challenge.
All the coaches were involved during the training sessions; the exchange of knowledge was an enriching experience for everybody. Importantly, educational sessions were held in the evenings and focused on basic techniques, complementing the practical training efforts of the group.
The Table Tennis Federation of Congo showed a great interest and support for players in the youth categories, especially cadet and hopes, as they dare to hope to win an Olympic medal at the 2028 Olympic Games or the 2030 Youth Olympic Games.
St Mathieu Muana Mbuta, President of the Table Tennis Federation of Congo, believes they can achieve their goal thanks to the unwavering support of the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee. Also he believes they have a good generation of talented young players who want to reach the highest international level and thus win medals on an international scale, to be the best sports representatives in their countries.
The local federation has put great effort and funds into achieving these objectives by hiring Stéphane Rouleau, a French coach with a great deal of experience, to ensure the daily training and progress of young players.
On Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June, the Challenge for both hopes and cadets took place in the “Céline Mayani” studio of the Congolese National Radio and Television (RTNC), a very pleasant setting. The generous presence of the Congolese public added a specific charm to this event.
Following the conclusion of the 2019 Africa Continental Hopes, Cadet Week and Challenge, the only qualifying event on the African continent for the 2019 ITTF World Hopes Week and Challenge, scheduled to take place in Salalah man from Thursday 25th to Wednesday 31st July, the qualifiers are announced.
Boys: 1. Yassin Yasser Gaber (Egypt) 2. Usman Ishola Okamlawon (Nigeria)
Girls: 1. Sadiat Alimat Akeem (Nigeria) 2. Kelia Hirwa Hirwa (Rwanda)