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Elizabet Abraamian – Photo By: Courtesy of Polona Cehovin Susin

Ready for the Challenge, Hopes Team Concludes Preparation in Otocec

Ready for the Challenge, Hopes Team Concludes Preparation in Otocec
2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge
Courtesy of ITTF

Selected at the ITTF World Hopes Week and Challenge held in Shanghai earlier this year from Monday June 29th to Sunday July 5th, the Hopes Team gathered recently in Otocec, Slovenia, prior to travelling to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt for the ensuing 2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge which starts on Friday October 23rd.

An intense Training Camp, comprising a daily schedule of technical exercises, physical conditioning and educational sessions, commenced on Monday October 12th and concluded on Wednesday October 21st.

The main objectives of the camp were to expose the players to practices aimed at improving their technical abilities by teaching advanced stroke and footwork techniques.

Additionally, attention was paid to educating the coaches with regards to the methodology required in the learning process.

Physical Training
The camp was also enriched by physical conditioning conducted by Mate Lejo and Matej Gliha, both trainers in the local fitness studio.

Furthermore, it wasn’t only the players who were exploring the limits of their bodies; also the coaches underwent the process! The idea was to teach them the correct method of demonstration and execution of various exercises; thus enabling the coaches to pursue such itineraries when returning home.

Educational Sessions 
Meanwhile, almost each evening, Dejan Papic conducted sessions for coaches. The main subjects were planning and periodization, highlighting the vital themes to be targeted in particular during a preparation camp.

Joze Urh, the head coach of the Slovenian National Centre, who was extremely active throughout the Camp, also contributed with a session relating to footwork; a subject which has always been his specialty.

Notably, his personal experiences as a player and later as a coach enabled him to provide the coaches present with detailed information regarding the step-by-step approach to learning footwork techniques from an early age. Similarly, just as technical skills are learned in a methodical manner, so are those relating to movement.

Sport Nutrition 
An enlightening contribution from Joze Urh; it was the same from Dr. Daijel Borkovic, a medical doctor by profession and also an active powerlifter. He presented a very informative lecture on sport nutrition.

He provided very useful advice on how to stay hydrated; what to eat before and during competitions, as well as how to fight jetlag in addition to many other items.

Friendly Matches
Education, there was also competition.

In addition to practicing with players from the Slovenian National Centre, the Slovenian Association organized two friendly matches involving Slovenian cadet players; this was a very beneficial test as to the form of the young stars of tomorrow and also a splendid opportunity to make new friends.

Members of the Hopes Team ready for Xharm El-Sheikh Photo courtesy of Polona Cehovin Susin

Members of the Hopes Team ready for Xharm El-Sheikh
Photo courtesy of Polona Cehovin Susin

Butterfly Support
Very much a complete package for the Hopes Team but of course there is a further vital ingredient; that is sponsorship.

Butterfly has supported the ITTF Hopes Program from its launch in 2009. The comprehensive agenda with activities that start at national level and continue through continental and world gatherings culminate with the selection of the Hopes Team.

The concept would not be possible without the support afforded by Butterfly.

Next Stop Egypt
Now with training sessions concluded earlier today on Wednesday morning the first phase of the journey is complete.

The young players are ready but of course a tough task awaits, the players they face in Sharm El-Sheikh are on the average three years older; there is a big difference between 12 years of age and 15 years of age.

Ambitions High
However, motivation and ambitions are high but with the young talents very much have their feet on the ground.

The task is to do their best, learn as much as possible and gain precious experience that will help them to qualify to their continental teams in the following year or two.

The coaches for the Hopes Team at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge - Photo courtesy of Polona Cehovin Susin

The coaches for the Hopes Team at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge – Photo courtesy of Polona Cehovin Susin

The 2015 Hopes Team
Girls’ Team: Sara Elhakem (Egypt), Diya Parag Chitale (India), Elizabet Abraamian (Russia), Melissa Mendoza (El Salvador
Boys’ Team: Nikhil Kumar (United States), Abayomi Animasahun (Nigeria), Yan Kai Andy Wong (Singapore), Nathan Xu (New Zealand).

Girls’ Team Coaches: Hisham Ismail (Egypt), Monalisa Mehta (India), Sergei Brusin (Russia), Gerson Ismael Villalta (El Salvador)
Boys’ Team Coaches: Anal Kashap (United States), Olubode Ajayi (Nigeria), Yao Jun Wang (Singapore), Matthew Ball (New Zealand).

Coaches’ Chief Advisor: Dejan Papic ITTF Education and Training Coordinator)
Team Manager: Polona Cehovin Susin (ITTF Director- Education and Training)

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