Canadian National Team players from Ontario and Quebec met in Mississauga from August 22-27, 2020 in the first team training after COVID hit the world in March.
With a total of 16 players, 3 coaches and 2 sparring partners, this was a very successful camp, as Dejan Papic, High Performance Director, has to share. “We do see when athletes come together, they progress a lot. We added some physical training components and everyone did great.”
Other National Team athletes were invited, but could not participate. This is understandable in times where health and safety go first during pandemic.
The training was hosted by MY Table Tennis and Elite Table Tennis, both situated in Mississauga. A good environment for the athletes with amazing support by the clubs. Dejan’s comment, “It is definitely challenging to work with COVID requirements and physical distancing, but both clubs helped us to do what we needed to do and kept the gym’s safe, clean and only available to us.”
“The idea is to continue training together every month whenever possible. It was great to see that some exchanges happened already between Quebec’s Edward Ly and Ontario’s Jeremy Hazin. Definitely inspirational,” Dejan had to add to this.
The training camp has been going really well so far. Its really nice to be able to practice with so many players from the national team, because we’ve all been taking a break for a long time and we haven’t really went out of the house or saw many people. So this is a good chance for us to get back into the sport. We’re training about 5 hours per day, so we’re getting to used to our old stamina that we had.
I have a table in my basement, and I was able to train one hour every few days (because I can’t always have my friend over!). So sometimes I was able to train on average 4 times per week, one hour each. It’s still better than nothing, just keep me in shape.
After the Olympic Qualification, we had the pandemic, everyone had to stay at home. I imagine everyone was still at home practicing physically or tactically watching game videos. Me during the pandemic it was going well because we often had meetings with the Quebec Federation, and helped each other. We watched games from time to time. We analyzed players, their experiences, their tactics for example. I did a lot of physical training during the pandemic, even though I didn’t have a table at home. I’m really happy to come to camp because it’s been a while since I saw my teammates, it’s really nice. And at the same time the atmosphere is really good. I’m really happy to be able to come back and play with top players.
The overall atmosphere seemed very good and with a virtual smile on his face, Dejan had only good things to say. “Girls are excelling fast. Our coaches worked great together, taking on different responsibilities, helped and supported each other. I am impressed.”
It’s going really well. It’s been pretty tiring because I haven’t had this kind of training in several months now, but it’s really rewarding. I think it’s really nice to even just see other people and practice with them. It’s a lot of training styles that I don’t usually get to practice with so it’s been really good.
I think the camp is going very well so far. And it feels good to practice with a lot of people because it’s been a long time since we played with them, especially with Ontario. So I’m really happy to do quality training like this before I start school again. After that it’s going to be more difficult.
This was the first of many training camps for the National Team. We are looking forward to the next one!!!