by Jia Li, ITTF Foundation Communication Coordinator
As an ITTF PTT Level 1 Certified coach, Luba Sadovska is known for her passion for table tennis. As the co-founder of the North Shore Table Tennis Club in Canada (NSTTC), she is known for her zero‑tolerance policy towards discrimination and inequality. As a FEMpowerment advocate, Sadovska shares with us her aspirations and visions, as well as her struggles and frustration.
The most important lesson
The world was once simple for Sadovska. The Slovakian born coach fell in love with table tennis at the age of eight, and her worst nightmare back then was being sent home once for being late for practice.
“I was never late again. It was the most a traumatising experience for me as a kid, but I have learnt the importance of self-discipline and dedication.”
Little did she know, the values she learnt back then would later become the fuel that drives her towards her dreams.
A new path unfolds
Moving to Canada in 1999 was eye‑opening for Sadovska.
“Canada is safer than other countries for those with different sexual orientations. The sense of freedom allows me to raise my voice, express my opinions, and to act when I experience or witness any kind of inequality. I was not able to do that in Slovakia when growing up.”
In 2015, Sadovska’s journey as a table tennis coach began when she and her partner founded the North Shore Table Tennis, which stands for more than a table tennis club, but a sanctuary for female players to find their voice, develop their confidence and leadership.
“We hope to achieve gender equity and inclusiveness with all programmes and classes. Since the beginning of my table tennis career, men have always tried to redirect my focus to their liking or needs. This is not how things work around here at NSTTC.”
“Together we are changing the game.”
Frustrated by talks regarding gender equity and a halt on female participation in the local table tennis community, Sadovska only saw limited action and has decided to take the matters into her own hands.
“Gender equity in the sports world has to start somewhere. Our goal at NSTTC is clear. We plan to hire more female coaches, create more female leaders and role models who will form the next generations of female players and coaches.”
With the programme “Youth Girls in Leadership”, girls are encouraged to participate in sport to stay active and healthy. NSTTC also trains girls to become future youth coaches and use their leadership skills in table tennis and across other sports.
“As a coach, I always encourage and support female table tennis players to become certified coaches, take first aid training, and become a role model for other female athletes.”
“Empowering women does not make us men haters.”
Even as a successful club owner now, Sadovska still fights for her opinions to matter.
“I am on my own right path, but it is not an easy one. As a female coach and entrepreneur, I have less opportunity to do what I want to do, so I created my own community which I know would always have my back. We share the same vision of empowering women through table tennis, and we aim to create more opportunities for female talents to be seen.”
For Sadovska, gender equity does not mean placing one gender above another. Despite her female-focused programmes, NSTTC is simply providing the lesser equipped with what they need to succeed.
“Empowering women does not make us men haters. Gender equity is one of the basic forms of equality which not all of us are able to enjoy. It requires all genders to work together, listening to one another, and giving everyone an opportunity to express their opinions regardless of their gender. I encourage men to be allies in achieving gender equity and actively engaging women as participants and leaders. Everyone has a role to play, and this is not only a women’s issue.”
Along with her club NSTTC, Sadovska has just been selected for Canadian Women and Sport SAME GAME Challenge with nine other sports organisations in Canada.
Read the story of Soo Yeon Lee, the table tennis star turned Hollywood celebrity coach.
Do you have a similar story that could help us empower our female audience? Tell us about it at [email protected].
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