MEET THE COACHES
Whether you're looking to learn the game, sharpen your competitive edge, or simply have a bit of fun, our coaches are happy to work with players of all skill levels. Call today and schedule a lesson here at the Center or at your table at home!
Elie, a native of Kazakhstan, has been playing table tennis since the age of eight. Through her career, Elie has competed at the highest level amassing numerous honors including a #1 national ranking and multiple international awards. In 2000, Elie moved to Los Angeles and can be seen in season 7 of HBOâ€™s Entourage and in Universalâ€™s Balls of Fury. Elie coaches and trains at the Gilbert Table Tennis Center and is available for instruction at all skill levels. She is USATT certified.
Born in Nepal, began playing table tennis at the young age of 9 years old. At the age of 13, he played in the All India National Championship winning the Bronze Medal in the Team Championship category. In 2001, he placed 3rd in the Under 14 Boys Category at the North India Juniors Championship and from 2001 to 2005, representing his school, continued to compete as a young player winning various Regional Championships. He later also represented his state in the Indian National Championships. Once having moved to the United States, he won in the Boy's Category in the California State Open and again in the California Golden State Open. He is currently available to coach all skill levels at Gilbert Table Tennis Center..
Bella has been coaching since 1968, making her our most experienced trainer. As a player, she has won numerous US Open and US Nationals titles in the over 40 and over 50 groups. She began coaching the Los Angeles Junior Maccabi team in 1995 and still holds the position today. Bella absolutely loves coaching table tennis, and is available to train players of all skill levels.
Kim's eventful career racked up many championship titles from 1980 through 1992. Her powerful offense brought her success as a champion of the California State Open, Pacific Coast Open, U.S. Closed, and several gold, silver and bronze medals at the U.S. Olympic Festival. She also still holds the record for the fasted reflexes ever recorded live on ESPN in 1986. In 1988 she qualified for the Olympic Trials and had continued success until a shattered right arm injury ended her Olympic dream. After 18 years away from the sport, in 2010 she launched a miraculous comeback tour to table tennis and is now headlining exhibitions and events at SPiN Hollywood and SPiN Milwaukee (Susan Sarandon's nightclubs). Kim was just featured in the May 9, 2011 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine. Kim currently trains as well as coaches at Gilbert Table Tennis Center and is available to coach players of all skill and experience levels, from beginner to very advanced. Please go to www.kimgilbert.com for further information, photos, and her events calendar.
Henriette (Heni) Ilyes has been a competitive athlete for most of her life starting with sculling at the young age of 10 and serving as a member of Hungary's Junior National Team as a coxswain; to now years later, with her passionate relationship with the sport of Table Tennis. Starting as a recreational player who was just enjoying the sport at her workplace in 2003, she soon realized she wanted to learn to play at a higher level and found Gilbert Table Tennis and its coaching staff the perfect environment to do so. Now as a coach, Heni teaches beginning level players at Gilbert Table Tennis Center with the same expertise and enthusiasm she once found at Gilbert for herself.
Heni also remains an avid sculling advocate and has served as the Head Rowing Instructor for Recreational Rowing at the UCLA Marina Aquatic Center since 2015.
Alex Figueroa is a highly developed coach with a lengthy relationship with the game of Table Tennis. Alex bears a degree in International Training from the University of Leipzig, Germany where he also met the rigorous ITTF standards for achieving a Coach Level 2 status. A native of Colombia, South America, Alex also holds a general Physical Education degree and has been deeply involved with the organization of such large scale table tennis events as the South American Games in 2010, and the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles in 2015, among others. Alex currently serves on the Board of Directors for LATTF (also known as L.A. Ping Pong) and actively works to promote the sport of Table Tennis throughout Southern California and most specifically, the greater Los Angeles area.