(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Bids open for 2018 ITTF World Hopes and Challenge
China’s Zhang Yining, Olympic Games gold medallist, World champion, the winner of no less than 29 ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles, more than any other player in the history of the concept that first saw the light of day in 1995; such was the quality of the coaching afforded at the recent ITTF World Hopes and Challenge staged in Luxembourg from Friday 11th to Thursday 17th August.
Not only was arguably the greatest female player who ever lived present; so was Li Xiaodong in the role of head coach. He was the mentor of Ma Long, in the current Olympic and World champion’s teenage days
Now the bidding process, for an event where quite simply the level of knowledge available could not be higher, is open.
In 2018, it will be the eighth staging of an initiative that has grown in stature and provides aspiring young players with a memory of a lifetime; who knows the names of future champions who may progress from the initiative.
However, I would suggest that the ITTF World Hopes and Challenge is more than just an opportunity to improve sporting skills and face the rigours of competitions. It is an education in itself; where else will young 12 years olds have the opportunity to spend seven days with peers from different races, religions and backgrounds?
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