Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, played host to the 2022 ITTF Africa Hopes Week & Challenge; the expert on duty was Pacinthe Osman (EGY), assisted by local coach, Mohamed Ghazi BenKahia (TUN).
The group consisted of 20 of the most promising players born in 2010 or later from 4 Member Associations: Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa.
“The training camp was so successful and beneficial for the players. It is a good step in the development of their performance, and it was a good chance to discover the best Hopes players in Africa. The collaboration of the coaches helped in sharing their knowledge, they were so active and co-operative, and the spirit between the players and the coaches was great.” – Head Coach Pacinthe Osman (EGY)
Within this pleasant and motivating atmosphere with a rich and coherent programme, the players found the perfect environment for competitive matches. In a very closely contested Challenge tournament for the boys, local talent Amir Essid (TUN) prevailed. In the girls’ competition, Farida Thabet (EGY) won against Mariem Brahimi (TUN) in the final match. It was noticeable that the technical level of young African athletes is increasing.
“I’m so satisfied with my performance in the training and challenge. I won first place and this made me so happy. I wish I will manage to win the first place in the World Hopes Week & Challenge as well.” – Amir Essid (TUN)
“The week was so long and exhausting, but it was an honor to represent Tunisia at this activit,y and I’m looking forward to the World Hopes Week & Challenge.” Mariem Brahimi (TUN)
Located in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic hosted the 2022 ITTF Americas Hopes Week & Challenge which ran from 11-16 September. The expert on duty was for the second year in a row Zoltan Batorfi (HUN), assisted by local coach, Noema Mena (DOM).
The 29 participants (14 girls and 15 boys) from 11 Member Associations (Dominican Republic, Ecuador, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, USA, Curacao, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela) spent productive and enjoyable days in Santo Domingo.
The schedule consisted of 8 technical sessions for 2,5-3 hours each, while the Challenge was played on the last day and a half.
During the practice sessions, participants learned how to improve their technical level, footwork, service, and physical conditioning. When it comes to the Challenge, players were divided into 2 groups, with the top-ranked four players of each group moving on to the quarterfinals. After contesting many exciting matches with all players fighting for a higher rank, Tahiya Piyadasa (USA) triumphed in the girls’ competition, while Emmanuel Otalvaro (COL) won in the boys’.
“My impression was that the children enjoyed practice, and I think the level of the players has increased compared to last year. In addition, we held several coaches’ meetings where we discussed our experience and talked about different kinds of exercises, what can be used at this age, different kinds of work of countries of how the children are taught to play at this level.” – Head Coach Zoltan Batorfi (HUN)
As an additional activity, the Dominican Republic Table Tennis Federation organized a sightseeing tour on Wednesday afternoon which was truly enjoyable for all participants.
“We spent a beautiful week in Santo Domingo. The week was very well organized by the Federation, and all the conditions were set to work hard and learn a lot from each other.” – added Zoltan Batorfi.
“It has been a miraculous experience playing my second time, at the Americas ontinental Hopes training camp and challenge. It has been such an honor to be part of 29 kids (girls and boys) and a big thank you for such an outstanding training camp to Coach Zoltan Batorfi from Hungary. We worked hard every day. The last 2 days was the Challenge. Luckily I won all my matches 3-0, 3-0, 3-0, except for one match which I won 3-1. In the Americas Hopes, I have learned a lot of new strategies and new ways to think. Therefore, I can’t wait to use my new knowledge at the World Hopes in France.” – Tashiya Piyadasa (USA)
The two remaining continental activities, the ITTF Asia Hopes Week & Challenge and ITTF Oceania Hopes Week & Challenge, will take place at the end of October in order to determine the next qualifiers for the ITTF World Hopes Week & Challenge that will take place in the city of Hennebont in January 2023.