Peshawar; the capital city of KPK Province of Pakistan, popularly known as the city of flowers, the province is also known as the Switzerland of Asia because of its scenic beauty, the people of this province are extremely hospitable, friendly and welcoming. I was recently there to conduct a two weeks ATTU’s – “Aim for the stars” training camp for Pakistani Cadets and Junior boys and girls from 15-28th March 2021, at Lala Rafiq Table Tennis Arena in the beautiful Qayyum Sports complex.
The training camp consisted of four best juniors and four best cadet boys and girls of Pakistan. The training was divided into two sessions with the girls training in the morning from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and then the boys from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The training touched all aspects of the sport which included technical, tactical and physical with some in-court discussions before the start and during the sessions, emphasis was particularly given on how to improve the services and receive services, adopting the right stance and using the right footwork and correct style with starting and finishing point of the strokes, using the modern way of playing the forehand and backhand top spins, emphasis was also given on the tactical side of the game using various exercises during practice sessions. Multi-ball training was also given. Regular physical training was also given, and players got the chance to experience practically on how improve their speed, strength and endurance through different exercises. I would like to say here that I was extremely impressed with the way all the players showed their enthusiasm and interest in learning and were very quick and responsive in adopting the right way to play, and it was that extreme eagerness to learn that kept my adrenalin going high and wanted me to do more.
The two trainee coaches Amna Mehmood from KPK and Aaqib Khursheed from Punjab did very well in learning, experiencing, and absorbing the whole training and coaching process and were very happy with everything they learned. Absar, KPK coach volunteered to assist and did well also.
Ummam Khawaja who is the recently crowned under 16 champion and one of the best players in Pakistan, when I asked him what he thought about this camp, he told me that this camp for us was a blessing as we got so much to learn in such a little time, he said we need more training camps like this along with more tournaments then only we will be able to improve our level fast, God willing.
My analysis on the standard of young table tennis players in Pakistan is that this country is definitely blessed with a lot of young talented players who have the potential of being turned into a high-level player who can definitely bring back the lost glory for Pakistan in table tennis, but it is the lack of high-level regular training that is keeping them back.
I was very surprised in a good way to see so many young boys and girls playing table tennis in this province which I think is much higher in numbers than compared to any other province in Pakistan, and they are so eager and interested in improving their level, it was amazing, Mr. Kifayat, who is the Vice President of KPK TTA and was the person in charge of organizing this training camp was getting so many requests from parents from all over the province to include their child, that Mr. Kifayat was having a hard time explaining to the parents that this camp is exclusively for elite young players of Pakistan, but despite that I agreed to do a couple of extra sessions for some young players, not because I was forced but purely because of the love and enthusiasm that I decided to do it and was able to make at least some of them happy.
Pakistan TTF under the new President Mr. Tauqeer Muhajir is making plans on how to revive this beautiful sport of ours and bring back the lost glory, but unfortunately since the Covid hit us last year everything has come to a standstill. Let’s hope that with this initiative of this ATTU’s training camp things will finally start rolling.
In the end I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart Mr. Kifayat Vice President KPK TTA for organizing this camp in a befitting manner along with his two young guns Sharjeel, Majid, and Jabir.
I would also like to thank ATTU and Mr. Glenn Tepper to provide me the opportunity to conduct this camp, I think “Aim for the Stars” is a fantastic initiative taken by ATTU to bring out the hidden talent and more high quality players from Asia.
For the highlights of the training camp: please visit:
Written By Arif Khan, ATTU Expert