Aleksandar Kampfer (left) with ITTF represenatives Judit Faragó and Raul Calin
The superb Centar Millennium is the venue for the ITTF World Cadet Challenge and ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals, which start on Wednesday 25th October 2006 and the man who must take credit, for bringing one of the showpiece events of the ITTF Global Junior Programme to the Serbian city of Vrsac, is Aleksandar Kampfer.
He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Centar Millennium and he is determined to raise the profile of the city by bring staging major events in the state-of-the-art stadium.
Physical Education Graduate
Aleksandar Kampfer is a graduate in physical education and is a martial arts specialist of considerable standing; his forte being Taekwando, a discipline in which he has represented Serbia on many occasions.
Competitive days now at an end, the marketing of sport is now one of his major priorities and in a very short space of time he put the wheels in motion to make the staging of the ITTF World Cadet Challenge and ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals possible.
The competition was originally scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates; unfortunately in April 2006 the original host had to withdraw and a new home was needed; to the rescue came Aleksandar Kampfer.
“I’m very keen to see the Centar Millennium host major sporting events”, he enthused. “The venue was officially opened on 5th April 2001 and since that time we have hosted several major competitions, including table tennis.”
The first venture into the world of table tennis came four years ago.
“We organised the Serbian Open for junior and cadet players in 2002, fourteen national teams took part”, continued Aleksandar Kampfer. “We organised the event once again in April of this year, so we have been able to establish a very good relationship with the Serbian Table Tennis Association.”
Close co-operation when organising international events is essential and Aleksandar Kampfer has used his managerial skills to good effect to establish good relations with local sporting institutions, a prime example being in table tennis.
“Dragan Grbic, the Vice President of the table tennis club in Vrsac is our liaison with the Serbian Table Tennis Association”, explained Aleksandar Kampfer. “He approached us regarding the possibilities of staging the World Cadet Challenge and World Junior Circuit Finals.” Most certainly Dragan Grbic was shrewd; he spoke to the right man. “We are delighted to be the hosts, I believe that such events like this help us promote our town and help us connect with Europe and the rest of the World.”
Aleksandar Kampfer welcomes the challenge and already the Centar Millennium has staged major sporting spectacles.
“In 2005 we hosted the Group A matches in the European Basketball Championships”, he said. “Germany, Russia, Italy and Ukraine played in Vrsac, it’s our biggest event so far; also we are an official centre for the World Volleyball League and this summer we hosted match against Japan and Poland.”
Vrsac is only twelve kilometres from the Romanian border; the Centar Millennium is its pride and joy; it is putting the city on the world map.
The venue seats almost five thousand spectators and it has every ancillary facility imaginable from weight training to a restaurant, from a gymnasium to a sauna; nothing is lacking.
However, it is not just a centre for sport; those responsible for the Centar Millennium have shown considerable innovative skills.
“The Centar Millennium is a company and if we were going to make the concept work, we soon realised that we needed to go beyond sport”, explained Aleksandar Kampfer. “Therefore we expanded our horizons; in addition to sport we have a concert agency, a marketing agency and an agency for tourism.”
Certainly, the extension of activities would appear to be working and Aleksandar Kampfer is ambitious.
“The ITTF World Junior Circuit event and World Cadet Challenge are important events for the Centar Millennium and for Vrsac”, he said. “However, I hope this week will be a springboard for even bigger competitions; perhaps an ITTF Pro Tour event or a similar major senior competition.”
No doubt, the fullness of time with Aleksandar Kampfer motivating his troops, that will happen; most certainly the facilities are there and in the town there is plenty of enthusiasm for sport and for table tennis.
Eyes are now on the immediate future and on the young players, in Vrsac they have been made most welcome, they have a splendid arena in which to show their skills and thanks to the positive attitude of Aleksandar Kampfer, a thrilling five days of table tennis is promised.
The Centar Millennium in Vrsac
Photo by Drenko Rasajski