Sun | Mar 18, 2018

ITTF coach learning from track and field

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Christian Lilleroos is here to help Jamaica's table tennis. To do so, the US-based Swede is trying to tap into the example of excellence provided by the country's tradition in track and field athletics.

Lilleroos is here coaching coaches and helping local table tennis administrators.

An International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-certified course conductor, Lilleroos has been training and certifying local coaches on the first leg of a six-month programme funded by Olympic Solidarity, through which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) assists countries through funds gathered from the sale of media rights. Lilleroos has already conducted courses in Montego Bay and Kingston.

"I'm also an ITTF certified trainer of course conductors so one of the things I will do in my next trip is actually to teach people to teach this course so we don't have to invite people like me to teach at least the first level," the Swede explained last Friday at the end of a Level One ITTF coaching course at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium on the campus of the University of Technology.

Regarding the feedback from educators who attended the Montego Bay staging of the Level One course, he smiled, then said: "They were super enthusiastic about the opportunity to develop table tennis there."

The six-month programme is divided into three visits to the island by the Swede, who has coached the game at the club, college and international level.

Coach of Mexico at the 1993 Caribbean Championships hosted by Jamaica, Lilleroos believes table tennis can use track and field as a good example.

"The one thing I see here is Jamaica has the excellent example from track and field and I'm trying to, any opportunity I have, capture what track and field has done," he observed.

With that in mind, he has compared notes with track coaches since he arrived here.

"Basically, I feel Jamaica is doing the same thing in track and field that China is doing in table tennis," he suggested, in a reference to the early start Chinese players and Jamaican athletes both get in the respective sports at home.

When Lilleroos was here at the 1993 Caribbean Championships, Jamaica beat his Mexico team in the men's team final with Stephen Hylton and Keith Evans getting gold and silver in the men's singles.

Evans took over from Lilleroos as head coach at Texas Wesleyan University after being assistant to the Swede for several years.