By Zaheer Mohamed
The Titans Table Tennis Club has embarked on a 14-day High Performance Camp (HPC) which commenced on Saturday last at its headquarters, the Guyana Red Cross Building.
Two sessions are being held each day with the first starting from 06:00hrs and conclude at 08:00hrs and the second running from 16:00hrs to 18:30hrs.
The club has managed to secure the services of world renowned table tennis expert Christian Lillieroos for the camp which is being attended by some 25 athletes.
Speaking at press conference hosted yesterday by the club, Lillieroos said he is delighted to be here and informed that it’s his first trip to Guyana. He is originally from Sweden and now resides in the United States.
Lillieroos informed that his connection with Guyana started all the way back with George Braithwaite, a former Guyana sprinter, who also represented the United States at the World’s Table Tennis Championships and Pan American Games.
Lillieroos started to coach in 1985 in the United States and also coached Mexico in the late 90s at a time when Guyanese Sydney Christophe was dominating the Caribbean. He has coached 20 national teams and is currently working with the development programme under the International Table Tennis Federation, most of the time with training camps and coaching education.
He said the players here have lived up to their expectations and it’s a lot of fun working with them.
“The athletes here have not been exposed to this level of hard training before, but I try to do it gradually, they have to survive for 14 days. At the HPC you basically look for the purpose of getting the opportunity to play full time professionally in the future.” The club held a tournament on Monday last and Lillieroos said it was very interesting in that it presented him with an opportunity to observe how the players perform in tournaments. “The tournament gives me a guidance to improve what is most important for these athletes today. Most of the players are between 10-15 which we called the cadet age, those are the forming age of high level players and if you don’t get to have good exposure to technique and hard training at this age, it’s going to be very difficult later on,” he stated.
“Table Tennis is a may be surprisingly complicated sport with 18 different spins dealing with 100miles an hour strokes and with the two athletes only nine feet away from each other it’s a lot of reaction, and first you have to learn how to react to the spin and speed that comes to you, and then be able to execute, so it’s a lot of physical training.”
He pointed out that that training is something that a lot of Caribbean athletes have a natural talent for which is a lot of strength. “This is a sport with a very high level of science and you must have introduction to very high level technique,” he posited.
Mohamed Rahaman, Whizz brand manager of the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation, commended the organisers adding that he is looking forward to the development of younger players and wished the athletes well.
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