PTT activities and initiatives have been in the focus of the Development and Participation Programs in 2022. This year, under the auspices of the Development program, Para Table Tennis (PTT) Athlete Grants were introduced, a dedicated support grant for promising and talented athletes, intended to assist MAs in improving their athletes’ training processes and boost their participation in internationally sanctioned PTT events. Out of 68 candidates, 10 athletes from 9 MAs and 3 continents were selected to benefit from the US$1000 grant.
The PTT grant holders achieved amazing results in the Singles events during this year’s major tournaments, claiming a combined 15 medals (8 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze). 8 out of the 10 selected athletes recently competed at the top world stage at the 2022 Andalucia World PTT Championships.
Grant holder Sophia Kelmer (BRA) successfully secured the silver medal in the singles event of the Women’s Class 8 action at the World PTT Championships, in addition to 2 gold medals at PTT events in Brazil and Argentina, and 2 silver medals in France and Czech Republic. Sayed Yousef (EGY) also had a successful year, with 2 gold medals at PTT events in Egypt and Jordan, and only just missed out on a bronze medal in the Men’s single class 7 event in Granada after being defeated 3:2 in a closely contested quarter-final by Miroslav Jambor (SLO). PTT grant holder, Romero Elias (ARG), class 5 athlete, had also a successful year with 2 gold medals in Argentina and Brasil, and a quarter finals appearance in the World PTT CCs.
The ITTF Development Program not only supports PTT athletes but also their coaches through the Mentorship Program, which enables promising coaches to enhance their knowledge and skills, significantly contributing to their growth by facilitating working relationships between the mentor and the mentee.
In the PTT focus area of the program, 21 applicants applied for the incentive. 3 candidates from 3 Member Associations were selected and have been matched with 2 experienced mentors in the field of Para Table Tennis.
As part of the Participation Program, a recent MA Activity enabled New Caledonia to hold a PTT training camp from 8-15 October 2022 in Noumea. In what might well be one of the best facilities in the Pacific, an accessible venue with capacity for 24 tables welcomed 25 players, 11 of them female.
The week began with a “Para Table Tennis Discovery Day” – the focus being fun activities mixed with learning the basic skills. Many new players arrive to learn about Para Table Tennis.
The training camp included advanced training drills for the players and new coaching techniques for their coaches. All participants were further educated about the history of PTT, the classification system and future pathways to major events.
“We are honored to be the first country to welcome a PTT Training Camp for the ITTF Participation Program” – Organizer Jérémy Dey
Chad Vuduc, already an experienced athlete is hoping to represent New Caledonia once again at upcoming tournaments.
“Table Tennis in general, is different from other sports I have tried. I’m really passionate about table tennis! There are very friendly people in the club, the coaches are also learning and helping me for the future. Table tennis gave me an objective to qualify for international events, so my main aim is to qualify for the Pacific Games and Oceania Para Championships in 2023!”
Following on from the training camp the New Caledonian Table Tennis League have organized a Para Championships during October, leading to selection for international events.
“This training was really challenging for my mind! It has taught me some new methods to add to my weekly training. I feel my improvement will be shown in the upcoming tournaments”. – Véronique Lussiez
Within Oceania Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia have taken part in inclusive PTT activities through the ITTF Participation Program in 2022. Planned for the remainder of the year include Para Table Tennis development activities in Papua New Guinea and also Brunei from the South-East Asia region.
We are also looking forward to the Para Eurotalents Development Camp U-23 that will take place between 12 – 17 Dec 2022, in Lignano, Italy.