Young players gain valuable experience on Slovakia training camp

Ten young British players have just returned from a week in Slovakia training at the Table Tennis For All Centre in Privezda. The opportunity was open to all British Para Table Tennis members to attend the self-funding camp which also included three international Para players from Norway - Sebastien Vegsund (class 4) Steffen Salomonsen (class 8) and Frederik Jacobsen (class 8) – as well as World ranked top 300 able bodied players Luka Fucec from Croatia and Igor Zavadskyi from Ukraine and a variety of experienced sparring partners.

The camp was organised by the BPTT Pathway Manager Shaun Marples and the British contingent included recent international medalists Alex Bland, Lucie Bouron and Ryan Henry. The head coach at the Table Tennis For All Centre is the former Slovakian Para Table Tennis Team manager Sasa Dragas, who has been working with the British Performance Squad this year.

“The main aim of the training camp was to give some of our young BPTT members the opportunity to experience an International Training Camp,” said Marples. “The camp could not have gone any smoother; Sasa and his team have done a fantastic job in supporting the organisation and we had players from Norway, Slovakia and Croatia there for the full camp. The standard of practice was at a good level and everybody gained a lot of experience. Each player gained some valuable table time and knowledge from the other sparring partners and coaches and we are looking forward to planning next year’s camp. The atmosphere was great all week, both on and off the table.”

Andrew Green from Billingham was one of four players making their first trip abroad with the British team and said, “I have enjoyed the training over the week and it has motivated me to train harder to achieve my goals.”

He was accompanied by his grandfather Chris Samuels, who commented: “I enjoyed watching Andrew during the training sessions, learning and taking on board new techniques to improve his game. The facilities for the coaching and accommodation here are second to none.”

The 10 British athletes on the camp were:
Alex Bland (Rotherham)
Lucie Bouron (Bracknell)
Andrew Green (Billingham)
Cellan Hall (Bridgend)
Felicity Pickard (Burnley)
Kerenza Downes (Exeter)
Jack Lawrence (Filey)
Ryan Henry (Ardrossan)
Tamlan Eastwood (Pontardawe)
Tamar Packford (Blackpool)