The Wall of Pride

Second day of training activities at the 2012 World Cadet Challenge in Guam – Micronesia. The sixty-four athletes are in their own very different ways getting accustomed to the playing conditions and also to their new team mates. It usually takes a couple of days to get your bearings right – but from that point on it is fun – friends and fierce competition in an often wonderful mix.

For us,  walking more on the side-line, not exactly involved in the active and so far really excellent coaching/training sessions presented by Richard Prause from the Werner Schlager Academy, the first days are all about getting a feel for the local organization.

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Personally, I am happy to give a huge round of applauds to each and every organizer of this particular event.  The length, the number of athletes – the tough hosting requirements is not easy to handle.  On top of that you are also putting your own athletes through a tough test of high level training and competition.

It is very likely  that the Guam team may not have the skills to repeat what the spirited Puerto Rican youngsters did last year;  stand  up  to even the best of the continental teams .   Judging from the first couple or training sessions here at the field house they can be in for a bit of a rough ride when the competition starts on Tuesday. Having said that – there is clearly a much bigger gain in having the cadet challenge in a country like Guam this year or even Puerto Rico last year ; The Growth of  Table Tennis .

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As an international federation we are here to showcase the development of our sport and our eagerness to deliver an event of the highest caliber – doesn’t matter that it is for fifteen – sixteen year old athletes .    Deep down it is a question of our pride and ambition to be met, understood and absorbed by the local organizers for a distinct period of time.   It then becomes very important for the ITTF to be firm but fair in order to achieve excellence.

Following the first day of action here in Guam – I am happy to tell; The Wall of Pride is not only up – but also nice looking. As you may know. I do have sweet spot for good slogans; “Guam, where the Americas day begins”  – clearly qualifies in my books and so do the effort and the great hospitality prepared and so far delivered with great deal of pride by the host.

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