by Edimilson Pinheiro
Notably, Alaor Azevedo was received at the Embassy’s headquarters by Elio Cardoso, Minister-Counsellor representing Ambassador Rodrigo Baena Soares.
In addition to officials from home and abroad, an overall audience of some 120 guests attended. Notably, present for the occasion was Juan Vila, President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union, alongside Raul Calin, ITTF Secretary-General, Sebastian Suito Lopez President of the Peruvian Institute of Sports and Marisol Espineira, President of the Peruvian Table Tennis Federation.
Alaor Azevedo explained the evolution of table tennis in Brazil, highlighting the fact that the country is now sixth in the men’s team world rankings and in Hugo Calderano has a player ranked no.6 on the men’s world rankings. He explained that the success is a result of a policy which commenced in 2009.
“Two days after we had the confirmation of Brazil as host of the 2016 Olympic Games, we kicked off a project that sought to take the country’s table tennis from a local level to be a world power. We looked for professionals like Michel Gadal and Jean-René Mounie, at the time a club coach in France. Today, Jean-René is considered one of the best coaches in the world. Our table tennis has evolved and so have the people who worked on this project.” Alaor Azevedo
Also, Alaor Azevedo recalled the importance of the “Impactando Vidas” project, an initiative to help other countries, brilliantly conducted by Monica Liyau, a former player and widow of Claudio Kano, one of the greatest Brazilian table tennis athletes of all time, tragically killed in a motor bike accident prior to the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
“Humbly, we are offering to pass this experience to the other leaders of Latin America, aiming at the growth of our sport.” Alaor Azvedo