New Delhi: The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has hired two foreign coaches - An Jong Son and Kim Song Han from North Korea - to help its state units conduct training sessions for junior paddlers during summer vacation.
The hiring of foreign coaches, part of TTFI`s annual developmental programme that began three years ago, has been a great hit with young players who have benefited from their training methods in the last two seasons. The two coaches will be here for nearly three months and help conduct camps in more than half a dozen states this year.
Both Son and Han were here last year and held three-week camps at Agra at the behest of UP Table
Tennis Association and at Guwahati, following a request from the Assam Table Tennis Federation.
As per the feedback from the two states, the coaches were too good and provided a lot of inputs to local coaches besides coaching their state players during their stay in 2013.
Son has been the chief coach of the North Korean national team in 2011 and 2012. But he had trained their top team at Pyongyang between 2005 and 2010 before being elevated as the chief coach. It is interesting to note that one of his wards had defeated Soumyajit Ghosh at the London
Olympics two years ago. As for Han, he had coached the state university team before being appointed as the chief coach of the nation's youth team from 2009 to 2012.
The TTFI, which considered the feedback, has again entrusted this year`s summer`s training camps, to be held at Delhi, Sonepat, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and
Karnataka, to the two coaches following demands from others states as well.
The Delhi camp has already begun and several youngsters are reaping the benefit from the knowledge and skills of the two coaches. Unlike last year, requests have poured in from more states and the TTFI is trying to help them with at least a two-week camp so that more and more players from states take advantage of their presence.
"The success of these camps (conducted by the coaches) has forced us to engage them year after year and I am happy that more demands are coming in. The two North Koreans are very good in their job and it's worth money that we pay to them," said Dhanraj Choudhary, secretary-general of the TTFI.
Incidentally, the TTFI pays the two coaches a substantial fee besides taking care of their travel to and from Pyongyang.