The fifth edition of the Euro Mini Champs in Schiltigheim just outside Strasbourg in France kicked of this morning. Non stop action on fifty-six tables in two venues, close to three-hundred young players from thirty countries, creates a,very organized chaos of matches from morning to evening. In fact this is the perfect place for an office bound ITTF Director or Official to re-attach himself with the floor reality.
The Euro Mini Champs event have over the years become an important breeding ground for Youth Table Tennis in Europe. Its enough to take a look at the results from a few years back to understand that – yes the road from Schiltigheim, often leads right into a successful run towards the European Youth Championships Cadet events. Simon Gauzy from France , Hampus Söderlund from Sweden and the Romanian Speed-ball Bernadette Szocs have all been on the top of the podium here.
From a sport point of view it is unbelievable fun to watch the matches put on , especially in the Born on or after 1 Jan 1998. In a matter of minutes , in fact even seconds, a solid looking 8-0 lead is vapourised and the drama is in full swing.. Coaching at this event is nothing short of an emotional roller-coaster calling for a good poker-face and a bucket of ice beside the bench. But again – this is too early to dig into the pool of results only. Behavioural issues, good technique and a competitive attitude counts above medal standings – at least for most of the countries participating in the Euro Mini Champs.
The ITTF is here as well – and we have come in style. Very nice to see the young players in the 2009 selection from all over the world bonding in practice and in competition. The ITTF World Hopes Team is also good looking in the fancy uniforms provided by Tamasu – Butterfly. Other coaches and young players flocked around any table this morning featuring World Hopes players. The name is now out there and the concept is working. We have just witnessed the start of something , that could , with the correct funding approach, really change some of the established world orders in our sport moving forward.
Still too early to name names – both in terms of the ITTF WHT members or other talented players. It is time for that when we approach Saturday afternoon-evening and the three steps of group stages have helped a bit in sorting out things for the blogging director.