27 Jan 2023

The 2022 ITTF World Hopes Week & Challenge, both the culmination and the finale of the 2022 Hopes season, drew to a close on Sunday 22 January 2023 at the Hennebont Ping Center in France. The Hopes closed out a week of intensive training, enriching educational sessions, and interactions between players and coaches from across the globe with a heavily contested Challenge tournament.

Head Coaches Eva Jeler (AUS) and Zoltán Bátorfi (HUN) lead 40 players and their coaches through two intense training sessions a day, complemented by a physical testing session based on standardized testing drills conducted using the latest technology by experts from Edge10.

“This World Hopes Week was a well-organized camp in wonderful conditions in this dedicated table tennis facility, which truly is one-of-its-kind. The tremendously talented group of boys and girls had a great camp and hopefully learned a lot for their future. Speaking for the boys’ group, I have to say that I have rarely seen such a talented group of 20 young players in one place. It was a delight to work with them and their coaches.” Eva Jeler (AUS), Head Coach Boys

“It was a pleasure to be part of the World Hopes Week and to be able to work with players and coaches from all over the world again. The girls worked hard and consistently and showed great potential for their future development. The conditions were excellent in this new-built facility so that we could focus on our work throughout the week.” Zoltán Bátorfi (HUN), Head Coach Girls

Evenings were dedicated to coach education sessions, with presentations from the Head Coaches, the host association’s Guillaume Simonin, and a winning presentation from Spanish coach Nuria Castro Iglesias. For the players, educational charity DYKTiA conducted a session on cyberbullying and online safety as they embark on their playing careers.

As the traditional excursion during the Hopes Week, the hosts arranged a visit to the National Stud Farm in Hennebont, an integral part of Hennebont’s history for more than 160 years. At this historic and prestigious site, the Hopes and their coaches had the opportunity to learn about and meet horses and their trainers and be introduced to the unique Breton draught horses.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday were dedicated to the Challenge tournament. This drew high ranking guests to the Hennebont Ping Center: Michelle Dole (mayor of the city of Hennebont), Pascal Le Liboux (Vice-President of Lorient Agglomeration), Stéphane Lohezic (District Councilor) and Muriel Jourda (Senator of Morbihan) witnessed the fighting spirit of the Hopes while observing the competition.

Kulapassr Vijitviriyakul (THA) and Danilo Faso (ITA) won the Girls’ and Boys’ competition respectively and received automatic placement in the Hopes Squad, which offers those selected additional high-level training opportunities. Throughout the Hopes Program, players are assessed on a balanced evaluation of training and competition skills, and so also at the World Hopes. A total of seven attributes are examined: anticipation, kinesthetic sense, technical level, serve & receive, speed, training, and competition. These, as well as their final result at the Challenge tournament, determine the final standing for the World Hopes, which is the basis for first selection to the Hopes Squad. However, the Hopes are only the first step on the High Performance pathway, and players continue to be monitored even if not initially selected for the Hopes Squad.

“If there is one event that throws us directly into the future, that is the World Hopes Week & Challenge. The week we have just spent in Hennebont, France, in a top-class facility like the Ping Center in Hennebont, was nothing short of a great success.
I will limit myself to the technical part, where 20 girls and 20 boys with their coaches from 28 countries of all continents gave life to intense training, competitions, tests and educational moments. I have to congratulate the Head Coaches who masterfully led the daily work, keeping players and coaches busy for one purpose, to teach them how to become Champions; thank you Eva Jeler (AUS) and Zoltan Batorfi (HUN).
Those who do not experience World Hopes Week & Challenge do not have the true measure of how beneficial it is for the future of these 40 talents and the contagious enthusiasm that is nurtured through the activity and future engagements, and we were happy to be part of their future. Good luck, Hopes.” Massimo Costantini, ITTF High Performance Elite Coach

“In sports circles it is widely discussed that talent means very little, or nothing, without hard work. But seeing the group of players gathered at the World Hopes Week, coming from 28 different Member Associations from all 5 continents was pure delight and joy. Firstly, because after almost 3 years of disruptions we could bring everyone on board, secondly because the little talents and their coaches enjoyed top-notch conditions at the Ping Center in Hennebont, a very welcome addition to the Table Tennis world map, and thirdly because there was a lot of hard-working talents in action under the watchful eyes of the Head Coaches. We are confident that the future of our sport may bring a much more diversified and globalised competitiveness to the playing field, but this is of course just the beginning of a long journey, and we look very much forward to it. Long live the Hopes!” Polona Cehovin, ITTF Development Director

The selection of the Hopes Squad for the next training activity taking place in March in Singapore will be announced next week.


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