|Children learn to play table tennis in Bắc Kạn Province with trainer Huỳnh Tiến Thắng. Photo baobackan.com.vn|
BẮC KẠN — For many years, children as young as five in the northern province of Bắc Kạn have attended a free table tennis class with Huỳnh Tiến Thắng.
The 52-year-old was born in Hà Nội and lived in Vũng Tàu with his family. He moved to Bắc Kạn in 2020 to set up a table tennis club for local children in Phủ Thông Town.
It was a trip to the province that inspired him with this initiative.
"In 2020, during a trip to Bắc Kạn, my friend invited me to stay here to guide the children who have a passion for table tennis, in Bạch Thông District,” he said.
“Many children in the mountains love table tennis but lacked the means to practice. I was deeply concerned about that. To inspire the younger generation, I gathered some eager students in Phủ Thông town to establish a club and have stayed since then," Thắng said.
Currently, the club that he leads has 40 members aged from five to sixteen.
Although Thắng only plays table tennis recreationally, he explains clearly the concepts and technical elements such as accuracy, power, spin, contact point, ball trajectory, and shot speed during his training sessions.
|It was a trip to Bắc Kạn that inspired Thắng to set up a table tennis club here. Photo baobackan.com.vn|
Three years later, six of his young players have been selected by a professional table tennis team in Hà Nội for further training.
Bế Ngọc La, 10, from Nà Phát Hamlet, Tân Tú Commune, was trained by Thắng from the beginning and is preparing to go to Hà Nội for professional training. "When I first came here, I was bewildered. However, thanks to enthusiastic guidance from teacher Thắng, I grew up and really enjoyed this sport. He personally bought tables for us to practise on, and he doesn't charge any tuition fees. He even bought me a racket as a present, and I'm very grateful for that."
"Many people have criticised me for spending money and putting in the effort to teach table tennis in a place that is not my hometown. However, no one can understand the feeling when I see my students achieve great results in competitions. Bắc Kạn is my second hometown," Thắng confided.
Hoàng Thị Hà, Deputy Secretary of the Bạch Thông Youth Union, said, “Thắng may not be a professional table tennis player, but he has trained outstanding young table tennis athletes. He has made a significant contribution to the development of the table tennis movement in Bạch Thông District."
In the future, Thắng hopes he can continue to inspire more young people to play table tennis and develop this sport in Bắc Kạn Province. — VNS