Team Mates Become Opponents and Then Team Mates Again October 24, 2009Posted by scotthouston23 in Uncategorized.
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Under the guidance of coaches Jarek Kolodziejczyk and Dana Weber and team manager Polona Cehovin Susin, Team Europe is well known to be the bench mark when it comes to team spirit and unity at the International Cadet Challenge. They achieve consistently outstanding results and their strong team bonding no doubt plays a major part in their success.
However, on the morning of Saturday 24 October two of Team Europe’s cadet girls found themselves at opposite ends of the table. Fourteen year old Bernadette Szocs of Romania had to face off against Yana Noskova, the fifteen year old Russian in the knock-out stage of the cadet girls singles event. Three days earlier they had been consoling each other after a gut-wrenching loss in the cadet team’s final against Team Asia, this morning they would have given anything to defeat each other.
This match had added importance given that the victorious player would still have a chance to secure one of the elusive four qualification places on offer for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. For the loser, they would be left to find another qualification path at a later date.
In a thrilling match that was full of long topspin and counter hitting rallies, the two youngsters proved to be evenly matched all the way. After an epic six games duel, it was Bernadette Szocs who emerged victorious. The petite right hander always plays with passion and enthusiasm, and this was typified by her vocal cries after winning each point.
For Yana Noskova, she must have been bitterly disappointed with the outcome, as a golden opportunity had been missed. However, she did not let it show as she shook hands showing good sportsmanship. Surely this comes from the respect that Team Europe have for one another.
Less than two hours after their match had finished, it was back to being team mates again. Yana Noskova and Bernadette Szocs are also partners in the girl’s doubles event at the International Cadet Challenge, and they put their skills together to defeat the Pan American duo of Cristal Meneses from Chile and Maria Soto from Peru by three games to one. When it comes to the medal rounds, surely they will be in the mix.
Bernadette Szocs and Yana Noskova had gone from team mates, to opponents, and then back to team mates again over 3 different events. This is surely one of the beauties of table tennis and in particular the International Cadet Challenge. It also underlines the strong team spirit of Team Europe and the maturity of the young ladies concerned.
By Scott Houston, Oceania Development Officer and Team Oceania Manager
From a Speck in the Ocean to the Land of the Rising Sun October 20, 2009Posted by scotthouston23 in Uncategorized.
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The possibility of gaining the first qualification places for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore is a major drawcard for the 2009 International Cadet Challenge. Those with the best technical, tactical, psychological and physical ability will rise to the top and justifiably steal the limelight in just a few days time.
However, the International Cadet Challenge is about much more than simply the results achieved on the table. Creating new friendships and rekindling old friendships, being able to visit another country and gaining new life experiences are all part of the complete package.
For one competitor in particular the experience of a lifetime is being carried out here in Tokyo, that player is Jamaneter George from Team Oceania. The young right hander is from the tiny island of Mangaia, which is the southernmost island of the Cook Islands situated in the South Pacific.
Mangaia has a population of just 1100 people and is very isolated, to the south the Pacific Ocean stretches thousands of empty kilometres to the South Pole, to the far east are the Austral Islands and Pitcairn, the Kingdom of Tonga is a world away to the west; only the north holds Mangaia’s Cook Islands neighbours. Mangaia also holds the distinction of being the oldest island in the Pacific, dating back some 18 million years.
For Jamaneter George, having the opportunity to come to Tokyo will surely create memories that will last forever. To experience the change in culture from the slow paced and care free culture of tiny Mangaia to the hustle and bustle of nearly 13 million people in Tokyo must surely be mind boggling. The shy young man, who has slowly been coming out of his shell since Team Oceania has been together, has been able to add something in his own unique way to the team.
In round one of the boy’s team event of competition Team Oceania was drawn to play against Team Asia, the number one seeds, where Jamaneter George had to face Lu Po-Hsien from Chinese-Taipei. Although he could not match it with his technical sound, more experienced and well grounded opponent, by simply having the chance to compete on the international arena was an achievement in itself.
The dream of competing at the Youth Olympic Games might seem to be a touch out of reach for the Cook Islands youngster, but the life experienced gained over this journey is something he will grow from as a person. He will certainly be able to return to Mangaia with a very different view of the world. This underlines that the International Cadet Challenge is about more than just table tennis.
By Scott Houston, Oceania Development Officer and Team Oceania Manager.
Check out the Boys Semis!!!! November 1, 2008Posted by glenntepper in Glenn's point of view !, Uncategorized.
Tags: ITTF cadet challenge 2008
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The European Table Tennis Union has been looking at what can be done to bridge the gap with Asia, with multiple brain-storming sessions, and a team of the most respected European coaches setting a plan for 2012, 2016 and 2020.
But hold on, the European Cadet Boy’s Team has just won the ITTF Cadet Challenge Team event 3-0 against Asia, defending the title they also won against Asia last year.
The semi finals for the Cadet Boy’s singles have now been finalised-3 Europeans and a Latino.
The semi finals for the Junior Circuit finals includes 2 europeans, an african and an asian.
Looks pretty healthy……on the surface at least.
If we dig a little deeper, we notice one small fact….China is not here!
There was also some questionable team selection and player positioning in the cadet teams final that played into the European hands.
But let’s enjoy the moment anyway….
- Simon Gauzy of France-perhaps the best talent to come out of Europe for many years
- Marcelo Aguirre of Paraguay-Latin America’s first individual semi-finalist and a finer wrist you would be hard placed to find
- Home team Sweden represented with Hampus Soderland, the hard working swede who leaves no doubt that his heart and soul is left on the table at the end of the match
- An African with a real chance in Egypt’s Omar Assar, and some real improvement coming courtesy of 5 weeks with Peter Karlsson in Sweden
I will certainly be checking out the action from 10.30am tomorrow morning!!
ITTF Education & Training November 1, 2008Posted by Mikael in Uncategorized.
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Plenty of interesting discussions taking place in Helsingborg. The new ITTF structure is slowly finding its form with Glenn Tepper responsible for Development and Judith Farago from Hungary taking care of the ITTF Competition department. My challenge will be to define suitable areas to get involved in from an Education and Training department perspective. Several projects, today connected to what we know as the ITTF Global Junior Programme , will remain in my work portfolio . Athletes development using partners and funding from the Olympic Movment will continue to move forward. We have a good relation with the IOC / Olympic Solidarity and our sport is , i believe , very well suited for the Youth Olympic Games coming up in the year 2010.
Coaching Education is an area that will become a priority for the ITTF. We just have to define responsibilities and develop proper strategies in order to provide the highest standard possible. Already, there are several elements of basic level coaching education taken care of by the ITTF Development program . At the same time my new department should push for more opportunties for high level coaches to recieve and access knowledge on a regual basis.
One of the more exciting projects moving quite fast for the moment is the ITTF HOPES idea. We are not very far away from launcing a number of events in 2009 carrying the label ITTF HOPES. The athletes have to be born on or after 1 January 1997 (in 2009) – which is very young. Main objectives are to connect with young talented players and more important their coaches. We belive that ITTF involvment in general will help us to build a solid educational platform for talents and coaches from all over the world. Possible start is the Safir International in Sweden late February and the series of events for 2009 will probably include the Euro Minichamps competition in France.
Rollercoasters and magic ingredients…. November 1, 2008Posted by glenntepper in Glenn's point of view !, Uncategorized.
Tags: ITTF cadet challenge 2008
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There is many players here in Helsingborg on a rollercoaster ride that makes the stockmarket look smooth.
The higher the stakes the more chance of upsets, and extreme highs and lows.
Take talented young left hander Kane Townsend of Team Oceania.
A nice wrist, and some great qualities, but his reality is that a large majority of his training is with his brother, Wade[who will be on duty with the Australian Junior Team at ther World Junior Champioships in Madrid in December] in a small club on the Australian Coast.
Kane rode his personal rollercoaster to the very top by causing the biggest upset of the tournament so far, beating the player many experts regard as the best talent to come out of Europe in many years, Simon Gauzy of France in the first match of the group.
His rollercoaster then headed downhill at breakneck speed as he succumbed meekly to Adem Hmem of Tunisia 3-0 in the next round.
Another on the “ride” is Norway’s Ma Wenting.
Last year’s Junior Circuit Final runnerup.
Far and away the top points earner and favorite this year, only to crash 1-4 at the first hurdle to Japanese player Misaki Morizono.
Match 2 and 3 she began the slow climb back up the steep slopes of the rollercoaster with victories but will there be another downhill crash or will this be a steady climb to the highest step of the podium?
What is the magic ingredient?
Coaches prepare the players technically.
Sports scientists prepare the physical and peaking plans.
Sports Psychologists give players the tools to handle the pressures of World Title events.
But still there is upsets and massive rollercoster rides.
Why does one player look great in practise and perform poorly in matches while another looks ordinary in training but performs well in matches?
HeadCoach at the training camp, Dejan Papic, mentioned to me during the camp that he thought Marcelo Aguirre was over-rated. Once the tournament started he quickly changed his mind watching him take all before him includng 2 matches against Europe and 2 against Japan. Till now he remains under-defeated.
But beware one of the great causes of the rollercoaster-expectation.
Kane Townsend had none going into the Gauzy match and won.
Suddenly his expectation was raised and crashed to the Tunisiam Hmem.
Ma Wenting had it coming into the tournament and fell at the first hurdle, but has now re-assesed and is moving forward in good form.
So, let’s see what happens today as we move into the knockout phases of the tournament…..
Milestone or stepping stone for North America? October 29, 2008Posted by glenntepper in Glenn's point of view !, Uncategorized.
Tags: ITTF cadet challenge 2008
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Last night there was some medal deciding matches, and certainly one of the most interesting and exciting was the Africa-North America Girl’s match.
In such matches there is always heroes and villains, the winners and the vanquished.
Dina Meshref, from Team Africa, after showing great improvement and a great attitude in the training camp, did all possible to be the hero, taking 2 matches against the talented duo of Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang.
Impressive also was the fact that she won both of her matches at critical stages with the match score 0-1, and again at 1-2 down to save the match.
North America though finally took the match, 3-2 with each player contributing one match, placing North America in the medal matches for the first time. Enough to make even the usually poker-faced clever tactician and coach Emilia Gheorge break out into a broad smile.
Much is written about Hsing and Zhang, but we should also recognise the contribution here of Ann Deng who won the critical match with matches locked at 1-1, convincingly 3-0.
Coming back to Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang….certainly the brightest prospects to come out of North America for many years, and 2 more intelligent, friendly and grounded girls you would be hard placed to find.
During my recent stay at ITTF Headquarters in Lausanne, I was reading past issues of the USATT Magasine-Ariel and Lily dominate many of the pages with stories of tournament successes, playing with Bill Gates, movie appearances. “Only in America” would young girls with some talent from a USA minority sport be afforded such oppurtunities. Their mentors must be careful that it is all kept in perspective-a job they have done very well so far.
These girls are the “real thing” but let’s not get too excited. There is a lot of hard work required to “make it” on the international stage and more importantly there needs to be a structure to support and nurture their talents, while keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground.
US Table Tennis is undergoing a massive restructure right now. US Olympic Committee has taken over and a new Board with a wide representation from both inside table tennis and key professionals from outside table tennis. Let’s hope that this can provide the much needed pyramid development structure needed to allow these girls the stepping stones to progress to the next level.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…”
Ariel, Lily and USATT have taken several steps forward, and taking a medal at the ITTF Cadet Challenge is certainly another move in the right direction, but let’s remember the road is long with many bumpy sections ahead.
I suspect the professional European girls may give the North American girls a valuable lesson in the semi-final later his morning.
Yesterdays win over Africa to enter the medal rounds was definteley a “stepping stone”.
A “milestone” will be when they come back in future years to take the gold…..
Tight at the top as World Junior Circuit first stage concludes… October 27, 2007Posted by glenntepper in Glenn's point of view !, Uncategorized.
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Group A Girls
Elizabeta Sameera[ROU], Misako Wakamiya[JPN] and KIM Min Hee[KOR] all finished 4-1 in matches, causing a 3 way tie. When matches between the 3 were counted, it was 2-1 in matches, 7-7 in games with only points differential seperating the three girls. Sameera playing the last match against Wakamiya was somewhat fortunate to escape playing a little too predictably, but still winning 4-3 and progressing directly to the semi-finals courtesy of a 135-129[1.05] points differential. Kim was second with 136-136[1.0] and Wakamiya third with 128-134[[0.96] qualifying for the final stages but playing quarter finals.
Girls Group B
Zhang Mo[CAN] booked her place straight to the semi-finals with a 5-0 scoreline never being extended beyond 4-2.
Elena Troshneva[RUS] lost only to Mo, and with all others was also not extended beyong 4-2.
An “up and down” and somewhat moody on the court Ma Wenting[NOR] completed the triology of finalists from Group 4 with a 3-2 record.
Boys Group A
See Hyun Deok[KOR] was not extended beyond the 4-2 match with Paul Drinkhall[ENG], qualifying for the semifinal direct. The last match of the round between these 2 was however extremely tight with high quality topspin exchanges the norm.
A three way countback for 2nd place saw Drinkall 2nd, Borna Kovac[CRO] third and the unlucky Benjamin Rogiers relegated to the 7-12 playoff, despite beating Kovac 12-10 in the 7th in his last match.
Boys Group B
Despite a very slow start to the tournament, losing to Cuban crowd favorite Andy Perreira of Cuba in his first match, and looking in trouble early against Australia’s Trent Carter in his second match, European Champion Mikhail Paykov of Russia, finally clicked into gear, only being troubled by Kentaro Miuchi of Japan, 4-2 to go straight to the semis.
Abdel-Kader Salifou[FRA] had tied for first, but had lost 0-4 to Paykov.
The third and final place was taken by Kentaro Muichi of Japan in a countback with Andy Perriera courtesy of a 4-2 victory over him in the final match epic of classic topspin-defense that broght the crowd to their feet.
Paraguay-a new World Power in Table Tennis? October 27, 2007Posted by glenntepper in Glenn's point of view !, Uncategorized.
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China, Japan, Germany, France and……….Paraguay?
The first 4 all will certainly recognise as table tennis powerhouses but Paraguay?
Marcelo Aguirre and Sandy Gavilan have already caused major ripples in World Junior Circuit events across Latin America, often travelling alone because their federation cant afford the additional cost of a coach and manager.
Marcelo is the perhaps the brighest prospect to come from Latin America for many years. The talented lefthander with a wrist akin to a young Waldner, highlighted his credentials early in the tournament with 2 victories against eventual winners Europe.
In the group stage of the singles he demolished Korean Kim Ji Kwan 13-11, 11-8, 11-1 as well as a hard fought victory over another talent Adam Hmam of Tunisia 3-2.
The last 16 was a tough gig. Trailing 1-3 and 9-10 against one of the growing number of top level Egyptian juniors, Khalid Assar, he fought back taking the 7th game 12-10, after leading 5-0.
He now meets Le Breton of France, in the quarter final, the winner moving into the medal round.
Will this be a first World Championship medal for Paraguay?
Sandy Gavilan, puntuated her arrival as a player with a strong 3-2 victory over Rika Suzuki of Japan in the group stage to qualify for the last 16.
The hardworking Gavilan’s fight only ended in the last 16 after a brave struggle with Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong, leading 2-1 before going down to the more experienced Lee 4-2.
Manufacturers-get in early with your contracts…….
Keen observers of table tennis-watch out for Paraguay…..
Glue and rubbers…… October 27, 2007Posted by glenntepper in Uncategorized.
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“As of 1 January 2008 for ITTF Junior events (U-18), and as of 1 September 2008 for all other ITTF events, the ITTF will implement a new racket testing programme and protocol, using the Enez* and RAE** instruments to ensure that all rackets used by players are free of volatile compounds except water”
To the juniors:
- Have you tried playing with the new glues? What has been your experiences?
- Have you played with the new “hi-tension” rubbers? What has been your experience?
- Have you tried the oil optimizers? What has been your experience?
FASTER-SLOWER-MORE SPIN-LESS SPIN-EASE OF USE-AVAILABILITY
The floor is yours…….
Cuban asleep early but again shows his class! October 26, 2007Posted by glenntepper in Uncategorized.
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Talented lefthander, Andy Perriera pulled off the first big upset of the World Junior Circuit finals, this morning defeating European Junior Champion Mikhail Paykov of Russia.
This afternoon it was “back to earth with a thud” as Africa’s future hope Omar Assar of Egypt, bounded to a 3-1 lead, with Perreira playing a much more passive game.
Fortunately the “Jazzman” Perriera awoke at the right time, clawing his way back with his trademark fist pumping and screams of encouragement in a fluctuating last 2 games.
With the scores at 2-3 for Assar, Perreira with rising confidence and increased activity raced to an 8-0 and 9-1 lead, before again falling to more passive play, eventually winning 11-8.
In the final game, Assar led 10-8, but failed to convert, while Perreira performed a “houdini” coming back from 1-3 and 8-10 in the final game, to keep his record intact.
To play at 3-1 and at match ball, the same way you play at 0-0 is the challenge for Assar.
For the “Jazzman”, to play in the same way and with the same levels of energy and intensity when playing someone he is expected to beat as he does when playing a higher ranked player with “nothing to lose” is his challenge.
All is a learning experience, and a loss is only a loss if you learn nothing from it……