by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor Rades is the current home for the 2017 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open; after two days of play, on Tuesday 4th April, the four team titles had been decided. However, before proceedings began there was six days of intense activity in a younger age group. The city noted for its harbour was the home for the 2017 ITTF-Africa Hopes Week and Challenge, play commenced on Tuesday 28th March and concluded on Sunday 2nd April. At the helm of proceedings was Ramzi Mabrouk, the Technical Director for the Tunisian Table Tennis Federation; Germany’s Eva Jeler was the head coach.
I think that, despite the absence of several African countries, this event has been a success both on the organizational and technical side. Moreover in this way, on behalf all participants, players and coaches, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Eva for her generosity, kindness and her superb know-how
An explanation at the start of a training session (Photo: courtesy of Eva Jeler) Overall, a total of six boys and five girls participated, representing the national associations of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Learning and honing basic skills, good technique is very much the ethos of the Hopes initiative; however, we must always remember why children decide to play sport. It is very simple, they want to play in a competition; nobody takes up the gauntlet just for coaching alone. Thus, although we should never read too much into results at such a young age, the Challenge tournament which concludes matters is the icing on the cake.
The coaches of the players were totally included in the daily work. Besides other topics, we also discussed the contents of the practice lessons and the problems the players faced; so we were able to find the solutions. The players progressed a lot during this week. Also, as the hotel was situated on the beach and the weather was fine, the players spend some hours in the garden of the hotel having great time.
A training session underway (Photo: courtesy of Eva Jeler) Somewhat appropriately honours were shared; an all Egyptian final saw Omar Iheb beat Momen Salah (11-4, 11-5, 3-11, 13-11) to secure the Boys’ Singles title; whilst in the counterpart Girls’ Singles event, it was victory for Tunisia. Maram Zoghlami beat Jana Mohamed, like Omar Iheb and Momen Salah from Egypt (11-4, 11-7, 11-7) to claim the top prize. Overall, six boys and five girls participated in events that commenced with a group phase followed by a knock-out stage.
We all enjoyed not only playing table tennis and making friends, the organization and warm hospitality of Tunisian Table Tennis Federation, led by the President Mr.Lotfi Guerfel and executed by Mr. Ramzi B. H. Mabrouk, was excellent. We will all never forget the week that we spent in Tunisia
In addition to the medallists, Libya’s Hriz Omran and Jamil Hussein alongside Amin Oueslaty and Aziz Jerbi completed the boys’ line-up; for the girls Egypt’s Roaa Salah was present in addition to Tunisia’s Molka Riahi and Zeyneb Gharsalli.