by Dora Jeler, ITTF High Performance and Development Operations Manager
A qualification event for the Latin America Hopes Week and Challenge to be held at the end of September, under the guidance of Venezuela’s Luisana Perez, six countries participated. In addition to the Dominican Republic, players from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Puerto Rico as well as Trinidad and Tobago attended.
Overall, eight boys and four girls practised daily in the presence of eight coaches and with the support of six practice partners, a total of 26 people being present. The coaches in attendance were Puerto Rico’s Hector Berrios, Trinidad and Tobago’s Catherine Spicer, Jamaica’s Dale Parham and Gari With, in addition to Mark Clifton from Barbados. Likewise, the host nation’s Johenny Valdez, Heriberto Reynoso and Madeleine de Armas were all present.
“I think the training camp was a success. It was well put together and structured so that both the coaches and the players were able to understand easily. The camp was very informative on the different methods that can be used to conduct training sessions as well as the various ways to control exercises. At all times the players were engaged. Trinidad and Tobago would like to thank the organizers; we are very pleased to have been part of this camp.” Catherine Spicer
The week proved very intensive with training sessions of up to six hours per day; proceedings having to be well planned owing to the very high temperatures. However, the players demonstrated a similar heat in their willingness to learn and improve.
Meanwhile, coach education focused on talent identification, the introduction of unified criteria for evaluation was introduced. The aim is that each country will adopt the concept to enable progress in the short, medium and long term.
“Coming for the third year to lead the Hopes Camp in the Caribbean Region gave a great satisfaction. Looking closely at the development and growth of countries fills me with pride when the following year the children remember you with emotion. Others who did not participate in the Hopes Programme will represent their countries in the Under 11 and Under 13 Caribbean Championship, to share this experience with them, their coaches and even parents as well, is exciting. Watch them grow. They ask me for guidance and some tips for their kids very often. However, this being my third year, I also note that we must promote greater participation and seek strategies, so that by 2020 a greater number of participants from all countries are reached. I am convinced that the Caribbean has a lot of talent to show.” Luisana Perez
In addition, the practical work in the training hall was complemented by an educational session on “The structure of table tennis exercises according to the objectives of the training”.
Matters concluded with six boys and three girls competing to gain places the Continental Hopes Week and Challenge to be held in October in Puerto Rico.
“I am 10 years old. My expectation was to accumulate experience and then to apply in the matches. I was able to play well. I am happy with the result; what I liked the most were the reaction exercise game rallies; that helped me improve my own game. ” Enrique Rios
First place in the boys’ singles event was secured by Puerto Rico’s Enrique Rios, second position by the Dominican Republic’s Tejada Alexander; in the counterpart girls’ singles competition, Carolina Sosa, also from the Dominican Republic, alongside Trinidad and Tobago’s Chloe Fraser finished in the respective top two places. They qualify the Latin American Hopes Week and Challenge.