10 Dec 2022

From 17 November, players qualified for the 2022 ITTF World Youth Championships in Tunisia gathered in Vila Nova de Gaia (POR) for the first stop of the Road to Tunis, a dedicated High Performance preparation activity series aiming to offer players an ideal training environment in two stages in light of the upcoming Championships. On 28 November, participants moved to Tunis (TUN) to be joined by the Chinese national youth teams for the final stop on the Road to Tunis before competing for the crown this week.

Road to Tunis

The training camp series focused on two major elements: the first objective, realized in Vila Nova de Gaia, was to prepare the players to compete in the WTT Youth Star Contender as a final test before the pinnacle event. Aiding this were the top-level training partners provided by the Portuguese Federation at their High Performance training base, which created a perfect environment for effective practice.

Road to Tunis, Stop 1 – Vila Nova de Gaia (POR) (courtesy of Ken Macleod)

The second stage of the preparation series, build on what was achieved in stage one, adjusting the focus of the training sessions. In Tunis, the target was fine-tuning techniques and tactics, which was heavily enriched by the attendance of the Chinese national youth teams.

“The training camp organized by the ITTF provided a great platform for youth table tennis development, with good communication and exchanges to help players learn and improve during the journey. We are very happy that Team China could be a part of it and contribute to elevate world table tennis development.” –  Zhong Jinyong, Chinese national youth coach

“Our players had a great preparation in Portugal and Tunisia. Being able to work with players from many countries meant our players were very well prepared. And now we have our first medal ever in the world table tennis championships, which is a great success.” Scott Houston, CEO Table Tennis Australia

In total, 38 players benefitted from structured practical training and additional educational sessions. In Portugal, participants attended an Anti-Doping educational session conducted by ITA (International Testing Agency) representative, former Ice Hockey Olympic Medalist Florence Shelling. Players and coaches learned about rule violations and test procedures, including practical elements aimed at cementing the presented material.

Florence Shelling, International Testing Agency

“In Tunis, we trained in the competition venue for the 2022 ITTF World Youth Championships. This was a big advantage for our training group, which included very successful players from across the world, including the Chinese national youth team. The practice was very good, competition-oriented and variable.” Eva Jeler, ITTF Expert

“Having the Chinese national team players and coaches practicing with us was surely a highlight of the preparation series and underlines how important a shared approach is to world-class training. Part of world-class training is world-class education, and we’d like to thank the ITA for presenting such a thorough and engaging session on a vital topic for young players.” Massimo Costantini, ITTF High Performance Elite Coach

Hopes Team

In Vila Nova de Gaia, World Championship preparation was not the only item on the agenda for High Performance. As a final stage of the Hopes journey, 4 boys and 4 girls, completed 5 days of training as the Hopes team. The Hopes had a golden opportunity to train next to the World Youth Championship qualifiers on the Road to Tunis, before getting the opportunity to watch the WTT Youth Star Contender to see their training peers compete.

Kacpar Piwowar (ENG) – Picture courtesy of Ken Macleod

“While this activity may have taken place in close physical and chronological proximity to a competition, it was in fact a standalone training opportunity targeting the improvement of techniques and close cooperation with the Hopes’ coaches attending the camp” – Massimo Costantini, ITTF High Performance Elite Coach

“It was a very successful camp for the coaches and players. All involved were very cooperative, which led to many positive and useful table tennis discussions amongst the coaches. The players were highly motivated within the excellent training environment provided in Vila Nova and practice at the highest energetic level. Hopefully everyone was able to learn something new and implemented it already during the camp”. Eva Jeler, ITTF Expert

“It was a good training camp. Good talks from Eva and Max about working hard, about fighting spirit, about importance of the service, receive and first ball.” – Teodor Bulbuc, national coach Romania

General News High Performance and Development