ITTF RESTART! Olympic Solidarity Technical Course for Coaches in North Macedonia|12-Sep-2020 15:35

12 Sep 2020

We are back! After months of global standstill, table tennis has returned with an Olympic Solidarity Technical Coaching Course in North Macedonia, the first ever coach education course held in the country.

The activity commenced on Monday 24th August and concluded on Wednesday 2nd September 2020, in Pehcevo, a small town in the east part of the country.

Hosted at the facilities of the GOGOV sport complex which housed the course participants for the duration of the course. Supported and funded by Olympic Solidarity, the ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coach Education Course was followed by a training camp, led by French expert, Nicolas Guigon.

A total of 17 coaches, including one female coach from Serbia, participated in the 30-hour-course. The daily program consisted of three-hour sessions twice a day, featuring a combination of theory and practical sessions.

The second part of the activity was a training camp which was joined by 15 youth players and during which the coaches could enhance their practical skills and partially fulfil their post-course requirements too. A total of ten women and girls participated in both activities which brought female participation to around 30%.

The activity was a full success, thanks to the meticulous planning and great organisation by the Member Association, which ensured perfect conditions for the activity. The preparations were overseen by Goran Tilovski, President of the Table Tennis Association of North Macedonia (TTANM), and Zlatko Rikalovski, Vice-President of TTANM, who took care of the logistics, protocol, photography, opening ceremony, translation on the ground, and other details, which were all perfectly prepared in advance.

After weeks of uncertainty, while monitoring and tracking the situation with COVID-19 globally and locally, a window of opportunity to implement the activity opened up, which enabled ITTF and the local organizers to begin planning for the course, managed and overseen by Katarzyna Kubas, the ITTF HPD Continental Development Manager.

Furthermore, ITTF High Performance & Development, in cooperation with TTANM, made every effort to ensure the provision of the needed protective measures to keep everyone safe and in good health, providing the “COVID-19 Guidelines for ITTF HPD Activities” which has been developed for ITTF Member Associations and their stakeholders to continue to enjoy and participate in HPD activities during the current global health emergency.

At the same time and as a great example for those Member Associations wanting to follow into these footsteps, TTANM as the organizing Member Association developed a COVID-19 Protocol relating directly to national table tennis activities approved by North Macedonian health authorities.

This extraordinary commitment to protecting participants and staff is an outstanding example of how we will be able to return to table tennis in the future months.

The opening ceremony took place on Monday, 24th August 2020 in the presence of Mr. Saso Popovski, the Secretary of the Macedonian Olympic Committee, the Association’s President Mr. Tilovski and local “protocol man” Jovan Kovaconvski, to answer as practically as possible the most important questions about protective measures and protocol to be followed in regards to current circumstances.

On the field the COVID-19 Guidelines provided by ITTF were strictly followed, along with local guidance on the pandemic. All measures were respected throughout: hand gel, face mask, medical staff present in the training hall, physical social distancing, air circulation in classrooms, measuring body temperature daily and so on. We are glad to say that no health problem has been reported.

The course was conducted on the basis of the ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Manual and were adapted according to the specific needs of the participants, such as introducing exercises for talent identification and development.

Now 17 coaches will have to further develop and prove their skills under the supervision of Sasko Bogatinov, National Selector.