Karachi; the capital city of Sindh Province of Pakistan, popularly known as the city of lights. It is not only the biggest city of Pakistan but is the hub of economic activities, the people of this province like all the other provinces of this country are extremely hospitable, friendly and welcoming. Since Karachi is my city and I belong to this province therefore I was very honored to conduct a nine days without break ATTU’s – “Aim for the Stars” training camp for Pakistani Cadets and Junior boys and girls from 25th August to 2nd September 2021, in the beautiful Majeed Khan Gymnasium at Islamia Club, the second such project funded by ATTU “Aim for the Stars”. The first was another Cadet and Junior Training Camp held in Peshawar, 15-28 March, 2021.
The training camp was originally supposed to consist of six top cadet boys and six girls of Pakistan but due to various reasons ended up having five boys and girls. The training was conducted in two sessions of three hours each with six tables, the morning session was from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and evening session from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
The training touched all aspects of the sport which included technical, tactical and physical with some in the 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 particularly given to all the ten players in all the morning sessions of the camp every day so that maximum benefits can be provided. Regular physical training was also given, and players got the chance to experience practically on how to 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. I would like to mention here that the level of all the boys and girls was very impressive.
I would like to mention here that my student and former junior international player and Level 1 coach Usman Ahmed assisted me very well and did a tremendous job, particularly in the multi-balls training, I think Usman will be a good asset for the PTTF in future training camps.
Shayan Farooq and Haiqa Hassan both are the cadet boys and girls singles champion of Pakistan and also one of the best on senior level, when I asked them what they thought about this camp, they told me that this camp for them was a blessing and for other players, as like in Peshawar in the first phase we got so much to learn in such a little time, they said we need more training camps like this along with more tournaments to play 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 along with frequently organized tournaments that is keeping them back.
Karachi was once the hub of table tennis in Pakistan and had produced outstanding champions in the past, but unfortunately now we are nowhere near to that level, and to bring back the lost glory hard dedicated and sincere work is required.
I am very grateful to the President of Pakistan TTF Mr. Tauqeer Muhajir for visiting us twice in the camp to motivate the young players. Mr. Tauqeer was 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 and all the plans has come to a standstill. Let’s hope that with the 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. Saleem Ahmed, General Secretary Sindh TTA and Project Director “Aim for the stars” training camp for organizing this camp in a great manner along with Coordinator Mohsin Sarwar, also thanks to Fawad for helping us out.
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.
Editor: Arif Khan