07 Jun 2024

The ITTF Mentorship is an integral component of the ITTF Development Plan, offering mentees the opportunity to learn from experienced and highly profiled experts in their respective fields. This initiative, lasting up to four months, includes regular online sessions, monthly assignments, and interactive sessions between mentors and mentees. This year, the focus will be on two key areas: coaching and match officiating.  

In coaching, the 2024 edition of the ITTF Mentorship will target able-bodied and Para Table Tennis Coaches and top athletes transitioning into coaching. In the match officiating area, the initiative will provide training for Young Umpires and prospective Evaluators.  

Opportunities for Top-Assessed Candidates 

The top assessed candidates will have the exceptional opportunity to enhance their experience on-site. Selected coaches may be invited to attend the ITTF Youth Summit connected to the 2024 ITTF World Youth Championships. The top-assessed Young Umpires will have a chance to attend one international event in 2025, and the top-assessed Evaluator trainees may be invited to attend the ITTF Train the Trainers Workshop in November 2024.  

In 2023, 24 mentees from 20 MAs and four continents participated in the ITTF Mentorship. Thirteen mentees, including umpires and referees, were mentored in the match officials area, while eleven were mentored in the coaching area for able-bodied and Para Table Tennis. 

Highlights of former mentees 

Yoanna Ramirez from Colombia, a 2021 Referee Mentee, will serve as the Deputy Referee at Paris 2024.

Three match officials from different cohorts of the ITTF Mentorship will be officiating in Paris at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year. 2021 Referee Mentee Yoanna Ramirez from Colombia, mentored by WTT Para events and Match Officials Manager Tina Crotta, will serve as the Deputy Referee. She will be joined by Mohamed El-Rawdy (EGY) and Akram Ben Attia (TUN), selected as umpires for Paris 2024. 

The mentoring relationship between the mentee and mentor helps mentees advance their professions and expand their knowledge. Eli Meliana from Indonesia and Ricardo Rief from Brazil joined the 2023 ITTF Mentorship as mentees of Rebecca Bergfeldt from Sweden. Rebecca assisted Eli in taking the next step in her match officiating career when she attended the Basic Referee Course in Jakarta (INA), and she also assisted both Eli and Ricardo with their umpiring skills, particularly after their participation in the 12th ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia. Eli and Ricardo had the opportunity to meet in person and discuss their personal development during the project.  

Chadha Azzabi from Tunisia, a new IU in 2022, was mentored by Anja Gersdorg from Germany in 2023. Chadtha was able to benefit from her mentor’s experience as she began to take her first steps in match officiating on an international scale, officiating at the 2024 WTT Youth Contender Tunis. Michael Zwipp from Germany mentored Jasper TAN from Singapore and Youngshin KIM from Korea. Michael supported Jasper in his future goals of attending IR School and becoming an International Referee. They discussed many important topics, including Field of Play preparation, playing situations, match control, draw, and many others. Youngshin Kim received his Blue Badge status at the end of his participation in the WTT Youth Contender Linz 2024, and he also officiated at the 26th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championship in Pyeongchang (KOR) from 3-10 September 2023.  

“The ITTF Mentorship program is a fantastic opportunity to increase the knowledge and understanding for rules and how to adapt them in a real situation. Doors are opened for sharing and caring in a safe and individualized environment. The meeting between the mentor and the mentees is not only a one-way communication but challenges all involved. As a mentor, I get the chance to also grow my own skills and abilities on how to see things from different perspectives. My mentees have shown proof of commitment, talent and are eager to take a step forward in their role as umpires!” Rebecca Bergfeldt [mentor): 

“Thank you for the ITTF Mentorship that has been carried out this year. I am very grateful to be able to follow it well, especially to my mentor who is extraordinary, sharing experiences about various things that we have not encountered before. In the previous few meetings, we have discussed several things including preparation for a match, misbehaviour, serving, preparation in the call area and field of play, para events matches and others. We discussed all these things well and gained a lot of valuable new knowledge.” Eli Meliana [mentee] 


Eduardo Vargas (BOL) (second from right)

Many coach mentees reached professional milestones in 2023. Eduardo Vargas from Bolivia earned the ITTF Level 3* coaching level in January 2024, and Byron Martiniz (ECU) earned the ITTF Level 2* coaching level in May 2024, both mentored by Pablo Koatz from Argentina. Yasiris Ortiz from the Dominican Republic participated in the ITTF Level 3 Coaching Course in Paraguay in 2023 and received training by Ryan Jenkins (ENG).

The 2022 Mentee, Mamatu Prabhu (IND), has been appointed as a ITTF Expert/Head Coach to lead the 2023 ITTF Central Asia Hopes Week & Challenge in Uzbekistan. The 2023 Mentee, Omoniyi Adedotun (NGR), led the 2023 South African Training Camp, while the 2022 Mentee, Aleena Edwards took part in the “My Gender. My Strengths” project, as part of which she attended the 2023 Caribbean Hopes Week and Challenge and organized a coaching seminar for female coaches in Trinidad and Tobago. 2021 Mentee Mohamed Ghazi Benkahia (TUN) led the 2023 ITTF Western Africa Hopes Week and Challenge as head coach; he also recently participated with athlete Wassim Essid (TUN) and reached the top 4 in the Olympic Qualifications in Rwanda. 

‘’It has been a very good program that should be repeated to help the coaches of the countries to increase knowledge, congratulations for these programs that help to improve and increase our knowledge.’’ Byron Martinez (Mentee) 

‘’It was a very good experience. Different with each of the two coach mentees that I was connected to. The two of them have made me feel comfortable. I am grateful that we were able to find a rhythm of meetings. New and unexpected experience for the times in which they occurred.” Pablo Koatz (Mentor) 

“The program, ITTF mentorship, which brings out the topic “Training Organization Planning” is superb, educative, and encompassing the intrinsic and extrinsic values of learning through a good mentor like Massimo Costantini.” Omoniyi Adedotun (NGR) Mentee 

Application Process for 2024: 

In 2024, coaches and match officials will be selected via an online application process in accordance with the respective 2024 Continent Development Programs. Each Member Association is entitled to apply with a maximum of 2 candidates (1 female and 1 male) in the able-bodied coaching area, 2 candidates (1 female and 1 male) in the Para coaching area, 2 candidates (1 male and 1 female) in the Young Umpires area and 1 candidate (female or male) in the Evaluators Trainee area. 

Applications are open to candidates from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania 

For more information and to apply, please get in touch with your respective Member Association. 


General News High Performance and Development