Technical Skills, Main Feature at Latin American Hopes Week
Courtesy of ITTF
Staged at the National Training Centre in the Cuban capital city of Havana, Peru’s Carlos Fernandez and the host nation’s Maria Rodrigues emerged successful at the Challenge Tournament on Tuesday October 6th; the event bringing to a conclusion the Latin American Hopes Week which had commenced on Wednesday September 30th.
At the final hurdle Carlos Fernandez accounted for Colombia’s Daniel Guete (11-8, 11-7, 14-12); while at the same stage Leyla Maria Rodrigues overcame Mexico’s Arantxa Cosio (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6).
The winners and runners up qualify for the 2016 ITTF World Hopes Week.
Overall seven boys and six girls attended, being from Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico and Peru. They had qualified for proceedings via events staged in the three regions of the continent: Caribbean, Central America and South America.
Coaches on duty were Dejan Papic, ITTF Education and Training Coordinator and Marcos Nuñez, the Chilean National Coach.
They conducted proceedings in very testing conditions, a temperature of 32 degrees centigrade and thus a high level of humidity was the daily scenario.
“Most important was to work was on technical skills, every morning players were divided in four groups; each group had specific technical tasks and rotated every half an hour”, explained Dejan Papic.
The recently published videos produced by the International Table Tennis Federation featuring
Elizabeta Samara, the recently crowned European champion alongside Georgina Pota, Michael Maze and Marcos Freitas were used to illustrated good techniques.
“It was a true workshop where players had the chance to evaluate their strokes and compare their level with peers and the world class players”, continued Dejan Papic. “Afternoon work was mostly on linking strokes and preparing for the tournament, the Latin American Hopes Challenge.”
Enthusiastic players, there was also an enthusiastic visitor, Juan Vila, President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union, attended.
Notably in 1979, the first occasion that table tennis was staged at the Pan American Games; representing the Dominican Republic, he was a member of the gold medal winning Men’s Team alongside Mario Álvarez, Raymundo Fermin and Esteban Ortiz.
More Important than Ever
He was clearly well aware of the need for good basic instruction.
“Our players and coaches need to work hard on technical skills; it is always an important pre-condition for making results in our sport”, said Juan Vila. “Today, this statement is even more important, next year we will organized a pre-camp online exam and make sure that all coaches come prepared; knowledgeable coaches are crucial for bringing up good players.”
Good coaches and one aspiring coach is Guatemala’s Milton Sosa Catalan; he was the youngest coach in duty in Havana; already he has attended two ITTF World Hopes Weeks.
Earlier this year at the ITTF Hopes Week in Shanghai he received an award for being one of the best prepared coaches.
“I like the Daniel Guete from Colombia a lot”, said Milton Sosa Catalan. “He has soft hands and he is fearless”.
Daniel Guete was present in Havana under the guidance of Gonzalez Beltran.
“We are here to learn; this is our first participation at a continental event, I am Physical Education teacher and I like table tennis a lot”, explained Gonzalez Beltran. “Daniel won the national event without too much problems.”
A talented young player, the task is to build on that talent; a fact of which Dejan Papic was well aware.
“Latin America has always had talented players with a natural understanding for the game’s rhythm and soft touch for the ball”, he said. “Better technical skills in early age and longer working hours in later stages are needed to climb to the top.”
Certainly, there was plenty of talent on show with Dejan Papic being clearly impressed with the two winners.
“Leyla Maria was very disciplined in practice and followed the coach’s instructions; she has short backhand strokes and a very safe top spin”, said Dejan Papic. “She stands close to the table, has short backhand strokes and a pretty safe forehand spin; also, she likes to experiment with serves.”
Notably the only games that Leyla Maria Rodrigues surrendered were in the final against Arantxa Cosio.
Came to Win
“For the boys, it was obvious from the very first day that Carlos Fernandez “Nino” had come to Cuba with only one goal, to win the tournament; he was always asking questions, prepared to work on his techniques and was most determined in match situations”, explained Dejan Papic. “Also, he was very loud celebrating an important point and when winning rallies; semi-finalist last year, he was too experienced being able to raise his game to another level whenever needed.
Impressive young players and Dejan Papic has very assistant
“Special thanks to Jorge Moses Campos, Cuban national team player; he helped regularly with translation, knowledge and attitude!” concluded Dejan Papic.
Undoubtedly in Latin America the talent is present, the task is no to develop and hone that talent; in Havana the way forward was presented.
Challenge Tournament – Results
Latin American Hopes Challenge: Results – Boys’ Singles & Girls’ Singles Events