The ITTF World Hopes Week and Challenge is one of the pinnacle development events on the world table tennis calendar for aspiring new talents. Hosted in the city of Salalah in Oman from 25-31 July, the event comprises of a training camp, educational sessions for coaches and the hopes trial tournament.
Representing North America through their victories at the ITTF North American Hopes Week and Challenge were USA's Daniel Tran (HITTA) and Natalie Chan (WCTTA), who traveled with the support of USATT National Development Coach Liu Nai Hui (Topspin NJ).
Singaporean former International Jin Jun Hong led the camp as Head Coach and also the educational sessions for coaches. The players were put through their paces.
The group stages of the trial saw Daniel Tran emerge first, defeating the 2 and 4 players with relative ease, 3-0 over Bae Won of Australia and Pheempope Srithaworn of Thailand. His challenge came from the group 3rd seed from Egypt - Yassin Yasser Gaber who managed to get his foot in the door in the first game and maintain the advantage throughout the match. While Tran leveled from behind at 1-1 and again at 2-2, it was Gaber who won 11-7 in the fifth game.
Fortunately for Tran, Won from Australia delivered a blow to Gaber with a 3-1 win, giving Tran the top spot on countback.
For Natalie Chan she lost out to tough opposition from Romania and France, two of the top nations for producing strong young female talents. She was able to overcome the host nation's Al-Hoor Al-Jassassi in straight games to finish 3rd in the group.
The main draw for Daniel Tran saw him lose out on a place in the semifinals after a narrow 3-2 loss to Nigeria's Okamlawon, who eventually went on to be crowned Hopes Boy's Champion. Tran eventually ended in 5th= place alongside Singapore's Nicholas Tan.
Natalie played for position and won over Arellano over Ecuador in the fifth, coming back from 2-1 down to claim the win. She finished the tournament 10th= place.
You can find the draws and results below. Well done to Daniel and Natalie, we hope the experience was rewarding and helps you to continue achieving great results and developing your talents. We also thank Coach Liu Nai Hui for her support and guidance of both players.