QTTA, Aspire host 8th ITTF Hopes programme

THE Eighth edition of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Hopes Week & Challenge hosted by the Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) and the Aspire Academy served off at the Aspire Dome in Doha on Sunday.

The event, which will be held from May 29 to June 4, is an initiative designed to build the popularity of table tennis and encourage its growth and development around the world.

In all, 16 boys and 16 girls within the 11-12 years age bracket are participating in the seven-day training and development event which is an important component of the ITTF’s Hopes programme. The participants are drawn from all the continents of the world plus six wild card entries and additional two from the host country. Addressing a press conference on Sunday, ITTF Deputy CEO Glen Tepper said that the main objective of the programme is to support nation-al table tennis associations in identifying talented young players and enhancing their chances of future success. He added that the programme equally supports the professional development of coaches, reflecting their vitally important role in the development of future talent. “It’s a pleasure to be in Qatar and to work with the QTTA and Aspire Academy in this very important talent identification programme. I am impressed with the facilities I’ve seen here and the de-velopment of our sport in the country,” Tepper said. The event was also at-tended by QTTA Assistant General Secretary Ali Sultan al Muftah and Aspire Academy Deputy Sports Director Dr Hazem Fareed.

Highlighting the success of the Hope initiative, the ITTF official noted that some of the players discovered through the programme have gone ahead to be highly suc-cessful in their career.“For example, in 2012, we discovered Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, who later became the World Cadet Challenge champion in 2015. Cristian Pletea of Romania (the European U 15 champion) was equally discovered through the programme same as Thai-land's Tamolvan Khethkijan, a quarter-finalist at the 2015 World Junior Champion-ship,” he said.“The ITTF philosophy be-hind the World Hopes is to develop players and coaches towards excellence in the sport through education and training. I’m impressed with the enthusiasm of the participants and I believe the pro-


The event, which will be held from May 29 to June 4, is an initiative designed to build the popularity of table tennis.


gramme will be highly successful,” Tepper added.

The 32 boys and girls will be involved in intensive training which will be rounded up with a series of challenging matches on June 4 at the As-pire Table Tennis Hall. The results of these matches, combined with an assessment based on a specific set of criteria, will enable the ITTF to select four boys and four girls from the pool who will have the privilege of participating at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge taking place in Shanghai from October 21 to 29.During the week, the vis-iting coaches will also engage in a number of sessions with the Academy’s Sports Science department designed to boost their knowledge and understanding in relation to topics including talent identification, the development of technical skills and other I'mportant aspects that are critical to the development of the sport.Dr Hazem Fareed said, “We’re delighted to host the 2016 International Table Tennis Federation World Hopes Week & Challenge as part of our ongoing cooperation with the QTTA and the ITTF. Hosting such events directly supports our mission at Aspire Academy to identify and develop well-educated sports champions. Enabling the growth of sports such as table tennis also underpins our vision to be recognised by 2020 as the world’s leading sports academy in the development of young athletes.”