by Monica Miramontes, Mexico’s Coach

One week in Germany training, in order to become adjusted to the time and sea level in Europe; next Rogelio Castro and myself travelled to Luxembourg the city where the Hopes Week and Challenge would take place from Friday 11th to Thursday 17th August and will determine the Hopes Team members for the ITTF World Cadet Challenge to be staged in Suva, Fiji later this year in October.

It was a week was full of pleasant surprises.

Rogelio Castro (left) and (right) Monica Miramontes; clearly a good team (Photo: courtesy of Monica Miramontes)

On our arrival on Thursday 10th August, we were received by the ITTF representatives, Polona Cehovin, Dejan Papic and Daniela Gomes. They helped us to settle and be ready for the start of the World Hopes Week; that evening an initial meeting was held.

At the meeting, we received a brochure, with the schedule and specification of the activities to be completed during the week. The main objectives were explained and we were introduced to the group of experts who would manage the training camp.

Once the training sessions started, the Chinese coaches showed their great knowledge, disposition and professional attitude, by sharing everything with all the participating coaches and players.

For Rogelio and me, it was a unique experience, when the former World and Olympic Champion Zhang Yining, took her time to make some remarks about Rogelio’s technique and footwork. On the other hand, the head coach Li Xiaodong, made his own observations, highlighting the quality of touch and technical skills of Rogelio but being also strong in pointing out his lack of physical strength and power.

It was really motivating to have the continuous guidance of the coach, Gu Nan. He always tried to support Rogelio, making constant remarks on the little details.

Finally, I would like to highlight the great job performed for the physical trainer, Zheng Chaoying, because it was wonderful to watch a real specialist in physical training with deep knowledge in table tennis.

For Rogelio’s age and international experience, very little at the moment, we can say that Rogelio had an excellent performance during this Challenge. He finished in a highly creditable seventh place.

Once the Hopes Week and Challenge finished, Rogelio and myself returned to Germany, where Rogelio will remain until Friday 15th September, as preparation for his participation in the Latin American Under 11 and Under 13 Championships.

I learned a great deal form the experience in Luxembourg; also I have reinforced previous knowledge. Meeting this very special group of players with different skills gives you an idea of which kind of players we should search for in our countries.

Meanwhile for Rogelio, he is a very mature and loves table tennis. He knows what he wants and he has the ability to improve and develop. Hopefully he can be supported and prove a good ambassador for Mexico and Latin America.