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An interview with Eva Jeler, German national coach, and head coach of Asia Hopes Week

The world of competitive sports can often seem cutthroat and cold, where one competitor’s gain is another’s loss. However, for German national team coach Eva Jeler, the sports world that she envisions is one of sharing and discussing ideas, so that everyone can take the next step forward.

Those are the values behind the Hopes Week initiative by the International Table Tennis Federation, where the best under-15 players from each country train and compete with their peers from other countries. Coaches from different countries share their experiences and knowledge and even coach players not from their own country. The latest edition of this annual event, the Asia Hopes Week, is taking place right here, at the SISB Sports Complex until 9th May.

“It’s about promoting table-tennis and helping young players,” explains Jeler, the Head Coach of this event, which has participants from Thailand, Singapore, India, Iran, Qatar, Lebanon and Pakistan. These 18 players will compete in a tournament on 4th and 5th May, and the best three boys and three girls will advance to the World Hopes Week, where they will enjoy valuable sparring opportunities with the best players from around the world.

In other words, Asia Hopes Week is a stepping stone for young players who aspire to become world-class and, to Jeler, this event could not have been held at a better venue.

“The school is beautiful and the facilities are excellent and world class,” said Jeler, who had represented Germany in many competitions and won bronze at the European Championships in 1976. She likened the facilities in SISB to that of Stanford University in the United States.

When asked about how the SISB sports facilities compare with the many international facilities that she has been to and competed at, Jeler said: “All of them are good, it’s like choosing between a Mercedes and a BMW.”