„Ok, Richie Prause is leaving to become Sports Director for the German Table Tennis Association. How will WSA react?“ this is a question I hear alot these days. “Will everything remain the same at WSA – and is everything alright?” Let me say this: Nothing will remain the same, but everything is better than ever! My esteemed colleague Martin will explain the details of this assessment. Thanks for this – and – thanks for everything!
By Martin Sörös, general manager at WSA.
There shall be a table tennis center!
First there was a vision, an idea that later became a project.
On January 11th, 2011, the Werner Schlager Academy (WSA) opened its doors for the first time in Schwechat, Vienna.
Everyone involved agreed on the demands:
In order to be called a professional, international Table tennis center, the supporting partners would have to be from the highest order. The ITTF, for example. Or the ETTU. Or the leading table tennis supplier – Butterfly.
Such a concept..
A permanently-usable training hall with 35 tables, perfect sports flooring, ideal lighting, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, message room, restaurant, sports physicians in-house and a super market across the street. Not the least: 40.000 balls per year.
More important than the external facts is the human factor, the staff that lets the WSA shine – there are always good partners, in fact: there are a lot of good partners. But we needed to have the best, the best coaches in the world.
In order to help us find these best coaches, our starting point was veteran coach and guru Mario Amizic. He pointed out the pearls – according to the guideline “we need the best in europe..”
Proud! Of course!
Of course the best do not only work at WSA, but nonetheless we are more than proud of our own:
The coach that was in part responsible for the many triumphs of german club Borussia Düsseldorf, national and international. Wagner, who seems to never rest is head coach at WSA – providing power wherever needed.
The former number two of the Womens World ranking, Tamara Boros quickly became on of WSA’s top coaches, supporting players like Matilda Ekholm, Tamolwan Khetkuen, Margie Migot, Lea Rakovac or Tetyana Bilenko.
He helped Tamara Boros become great, and has started to work for WSA in Summer 2015 as head coach for the Women’s department.
All of them have contributed to WSA quickly becoming a global player in international table tennis, ITTF declared it Hotspot category A. China’s national players have used the WSA for three years in a row to prepare for World Championships.
None other than Portuguese top player Marcos Freitas has become a top ten player under guidance of WSA coaches, and players such as Joao Monteiro, Mihai Bobocica, Robert Gardos or Chen Weixing visit on a daily basis, other visitors include Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Vladimir Samsonov or Jun Mizutani. Almost always under direction of one man, who after five years of WSA coaching will now return home to his roots as a player and coach:
Former national player and later national coach of Germany’s men’s and women’s team was one of the first members of our staff and is largely responsible for the accomplishments of WSA.
Richard Prause has seldomly been ill in these 5 years. If so, you could hear it. Or rather, not hear it. He has always been voiced, never pretending to be quiet or fade into the background. His goal was to impart his impressive energy onto others. His power, dedication and the comforting mixture between passion and competence are examplary.
Even if some in the Austrian Federation might disagree: The development of Stefan Fegerl or Robert Gardos’s and Daniel Habesohn’s medal in the European Championships in 2012 and 2013 would not have been possible of not for Richie Prause’s and Dirk Wagner’s dedicated guidance and coaching at WSA.
Richard Prause returns home to Germany. The Werner Schlager Academy will remain a Hotspot, combining great talents with great coaches. But Richie’s abscence will be noticed. He will not leave a gap (which should be possible – if indeed hard – to fill) but rather we will miss his signature in Vienna. His aura of professionalism and expertise, as a coach and a human being.
The WSA will in the future continue to profit from frequent correspondence with Richie and will continue to be a partner to ITTF, ETTU, DTTB, Richard Prause and Butterfly.
So rather than being an obiturary, this is more of an honest ending – a sincere statement from the heart of the Werner Schlager Academy:
THANK YOU, RICHIE…