Dora Jeler, High Performance and Development Operations Manager
Proceedings commenced at the National Table Tennis Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal with the South Asia Regional Hopes and Cadet Week and Challenge, no less than 42 players from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Nepal trained and competed together.
Expert on duty was Matjaž Šercer, a morning and afternoon training session each day, the focus was on basic technique and movements, as well as serve and receive.
All participating coaches were eager and willing to help and collaborate with each other, this enabled many sessions of multi-ball training. Motivation was high and created a buzz throughout the whole week; a fact appreciated by the dignitaries present. Notably, Mr. Ramesh Kumar Silwal (Membership Secretary of the Nepal Sports Council) and Mr. Chaturananda Raj Baidya (President of the All Nepal Table Tennis Association and Vice-President of the Nepal Olympic Committee) attended.
Overall it was a good working experience for all coaches and players.
The road continued in the Central Region, where the host was the city of Namangan in Uzbekistan.
Conditions were impeccable, ranging from good transport, excellent hotel to hall preparation. Three hour sessions were held twice daily and consisted of a warm up and training at the table in addition to a theoretical part for players and coaches. Matters concluded with physical exercises.
In the evenings, coaches met for educational sessions with expert, Austria’s Dmitrij Levenko. However, theoretical education wasn’t limited only to after hours but extended into the training hall, where coaches and players were encouraged to implement their newly acquired knowledge.
Significantly, owing to the general level of physical strength, co-ordination and technique, the training sessions focused on balance and footwork techniques, along with service training and multi-ball exercises. The training week concluded with the Challenge tournament, a competition which showed that the players and coaches had potential in working on the mental aspect of the game.
Major progress, for the West Asia Regional Hopes, Cadet Week and Challenge, it was watershed.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Organised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia staged the first ITTF Continental Development activity for both boys and girls.
An achievement, it was further underlined by the attendance of Albslooshi Asma, the United Arab Emirates Table Tennis Association Women’s Committee member. She travelled to Riyadh with the team from the United Arab Emirates. Participation also increased from five national associations last year to eight this year.
The working atmosphere was fantastic, as all national coaches were eager to co-operate. Matjaž Šercer, returned to Asia to once again lead matters. He was assisted by Mohammed Atoum, ITTF Asia Participation Officer and Egypt’s Youssef Rabie of Egypt. They were met with excellent conditions provided by the host. Training session consisted of footwork exercises, basic techniques, serve and receive, complemented by multi-ball and coordination sessions.
Five days of intensive training concluded with the Challenge tournaments for Hopes and Cadets; the takeaway in the Central region being a recommendation for better mental preparation. Players and coaches of the Western region were asked to focus more on physical preparation.
The Hopes road continues, with many more regional events yet to come, followed by stages through five continents, Latin America already having concluded their continental event. We are looking forward to seeing all our Hopes again very soon.