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Nov 27, 2009

Table tennis enthusiasts work up a sweat in workshop

Story PictureAnd it’s not one of the dominant sports, but table tennis has been gaining popularity over the past couple years. A workshop started today at the auditorium of the Belize Elementary School (B.E.S.) to teach coaches the proper techniques of the sport. It is a first level course and twenty-four participants from all over the country gathered in the old capital for the first day of training. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was at this morning’s session where the players showed off their skills.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
The four day workshop at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium is aimed at certifying coaches and subsequently bringing more players into table tennis. Marcus Gustafson of the International Table Tennis Federation flew in from Sweden for the level one coach’s course.

Marcus Gustafson, International Table Tennis Federation
“They are about to learn basic techniques of table tennis and also how to run a training session and a little bit about everything in the sport.”

Delahnie Bain
“What do you think of our players so far?”

Marcus Gustafson
“So far so good. I think it’s a really good crowd coming here and also they have really nice game; many of them that are playing so it looks good. Table tennis is one of the most difficult sports to play on a high level and it starts as a beginner; could be just the little details about keeping the elbow here or here. It’s very small details in table tennis so it’s a difficult game to play but also anyone can play it as well on different levels so it’s a fun sport.”

Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, President, Belize Table Tennis Association
“For us this session is very important because after this we will have a real maybe fifteen-twenty certified coaches. And the whole idea of table tennis in Belize right now is to develop the youths, maybe work in the schools. So the specifics about this training is that it will allow them to be able to coach other players. That’s mainly what this is about.”

The workshop features both practical and theory sessions and the participants are enthusiastic about learning a more structured approach to table tennis.

Jorge Espat, Participant, Table Tennis Workshop
“It’s great. Table tennis in Belize is a sport that’s trying to involve all members of the community including the schools. So a training course like this will help us to go back out and train kids from in the primary schools all the way up, hopefully getting them into competition mode and hopefully internationally as well.”

Dale Turner Jr., Kolbe Foundation
“We have programs for the inmates back there and tennis definitely is one of them that we’re trying to get more acquainted with so that’s one of the reasons I came to this coaching sessions to take the knowledge that I learn here over there so that we have more—instead of staying in their cells they can come out and have it in their buildings as some kind of recreation.”

At the end of the current course, each participant must complete an additional thirty hours of training to be officially certified. President of the Belize Table Tennis Association, Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, says he is hoping to have a level two training course next year for more advanced players. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Vasquez says the Belize Elementary School Auditorium is open for persons wishing to play table tennis on Saturday between the hours of two and six p.m.

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