10 Aug 2019

Additional to courses organised under the ITTF Continental Development Programme, national associations are able to benefit from Olympic Solidarity support to develop table tennis on a national scale.

Now for over 50 years, Olympic Solidarity has supported National Olympic Committees across the globe. In the past nine years, Olympic Solidarity has supported nine technical courses adding to a total global support of over US$100,000.

by Dora Jeler, High Performance & Development Operations Manager

In July, three activities supported by Olympic Solidarity, took place across three continents: Bhutan in Asia, Burundi in Africa and Haiti in Latin America. All three activities consisted of an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course followed by a training camp.


Organised from Monday 8th to Thursday 18th July, Togo’s Kaka Lawson was the expert on duty in Bujumbura, Burundi’s second largest city and its economic capital.

Burundi has a tradition of table tennis; the national association has 11 district committees spread throughout the country, with the largest of them, Bujumbura comprising 10 clubs, each with its own training facilities.

However, a lack of table tennis equipment and materials, as well as an inadequate technical structure has limited the development of the sport. The Table Tennis Federation of Burundi is aware of this fact and under the leadership of the President, Henri Bukumbanya, the country is eager to remedy the problems.

“That is why this ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course is welcomed to equip the main cities with valuable technical staff capable of helping the association in its development policy”. Henri Bukumbanya

Olympic Solidarity provides assistance to all National Olympic Committees but particularly those like Burundi, who display a great need for support in certain areas. Overall 31 athletes and coaches were able to participate in the course, a six day training camp followed.

Course members in Burundi (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)


Coaches came from all regions of the country, proof that table tennis is growing gradually throughout Burundi. They were highly motivated; their motto was to make the best of themselves during the course.
Notably, 18 of the 30 coaches succeeded in the evaluation (conducting training sessions and demonstration of technical skills).

“I dare to believe that a follow-up of the course will be done quickly so that their diplomas are delivered to them.” Kaka Lawson

Likewise, with the players, the same motivation, desire to play and determination to progress was evident. They completed the various exercises and tactical schemes set for them with great pleasure and perfect concentration, no more so than Jean Nduwayo.

“We have become aware of our potential since we had the opportunity to train in China. We want to take advantage of this training camp to improve and respond to various regional competitions.” Jean Nduwayo

Most significantly Yakin Gateka qualified for the 2019 Africa Continental Hopes Week and Challenge; a fact that delighted Salvator Bigirimana, the Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee.

“This effort of development must continue, the National Olympic Committee is ready to support the association in their policy”. Salvator Bigirimana


In Haiti, Karima Tellaa, the expert, received a warm welcome.

“I was impressed by the warm welcome, the hospitality and the kindness of the Haitians, also by the will, dedication and determination of the leaders of the Haitian Table Tennis Federation who are fighting to promote the table tennis.” Karima Tellaa

Staged at the Sport for Hope Centre in Port-au-Prince, from Sunday 21st to Thursday 25th July, Karima Tella conducted an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course followed by a training camp. A total of 26 students attended the coaches’ course; overall 20 players, members of the national team, including three girls, were present for the training.

“The participants were motivated and very involved. They followed the training with great attention and seriousness; they promised me to apply all they learned from the training and to practise their new knowledge on the ground at schools. They would like to see the number of young table tennis players increase in the future.” Karima Tellaa

The para element being conducted in Port-au-Prince (Photo: courtesy of Karima Tellaa)


Thanks to the efforts of Ralph Kernizant, the President of the Haitian Federation and Demonsthenes Buckford, the Secretary-General, locally matters were most efficiently organised. Importantly, all needs for the para element were provided.

“I must point out that the Haitian Federation is making great efforts to advance this discipline but despite everything, it faces enormous difficulties. It now has 13 affiliated organisations and about 300 athletes who play table tennis. A Cuban coach, Leonel Pomres, was hired as part of the PanAm Sport project to support athletes. I pay great respect to the President of the Haitian Table Tennis Federation, who never stops making enormous efforts. I hope the Haitian authorities will actively participate in this area.” Karima Tellaa


The same efforts in supporting table tennis were witnessed by Ahmed Dawlatly, the expert on duty for an ITTF/PTT Level One Coaches Course and training camp from Monday 22nd to Monday 29th July in Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Held at the Bhutan Table Tennis Centre, six tables available, overall 17 coaches, seven of whom were women, from throughout the country, participated. There was a diversity of the backgrounds which led to increased interaction during the sessions and maximised the outcome of the course. A full attendance at all 10 sessions reflected the interest and dedication of participants.

All smiles in Bhutan (Photo: courtesy of Ahmed Dawlatly0


At the training camp which followed, a total of 17 boys and girls participated; additionally all course members were present. It was a great opportunity for everyone to put theory into practice. Notably, Tshering T. Yoezer, only eight years old, the youngest participant in the camp, insisted on taking part in every single activity; he showed a great passion for the game.

“My thanks goes to Mr. Karma Tshering, Bhutan Table Tennis Association Secretary General, who paid several visits to the course and training camp and attended both opening and closing ceremonies. Further thanks go to Mr. Dala Thinley, Bhutan Table Tennis Association Head Coach and Mr. Namgay Dorji, Course Co-ordinator. Mr. Dorji put in a lot of effort to come up with a very successful course in a beautiful country Bhutan, showing all kinds of help, support and generous hospitality.” Ahmed Dawlatly

Paying attention, no doubt wise words from Ahmed Dawlatly (Photo: courtesy of Ahmed Dawlatly)

Among the various opportunities offered, the ITTF enthusiastically supports two most commendable Olympic Solidarity programmes: “Development of the National Sports System” and “Technical Course for Coaches”.

The main objective of the “Development of the National Sports System” programme is to develop a training structure with a medium and long term action plan. As for the “Technical Course for Coaches” initiative, it offers training possibilities at different levels for coaches officially recognised by their national association and working in their own country.

ITTF High Performance and Development: Olympic Solidarity Prgrammes

High Performance and Development Coaching Haiti Burundi Bhutan