THE International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) World Hopes Week and Challenge, which concluded at the ASPIRE Academy last week, helped a lot of young players and coaches gain valuable knowledge.
Started in 2009, the World Hopes Week and Challenge is an ITTF initiative for encouraging national associations to run talent identification programmes. The world body provides expert guidance, incentives and opportunities while following up with the education of coaches.
“The event is a good start for talented players,” said Dirk Wagner, one of the two head coaches. “The players worked very hard while there’s a lot of responsibility on coaches to show them the way. The national associations should also provide good training environment.”
The ITTF will select a Hopes Team comprising four boys and girls each. Their coaches will be offered a follow-up activity, which will include participation at the World Cadet Challenge.
Wagner, who coaches at the Werner Schlager Academy in Vienna, Austria, was impressed with the facilities at the ASPIRE Academy, a venue used by world-class athletes in different disciplines.
“Doha has excellent sports infrastructure. It’s awesome,” he added.
Singapore’s Jing Jun Hong, the other head coach, said, “Our duty is to look for solutions and help the wards. We should prepare efficient training programmes for their development.”