by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Some two years ago, Joe Carrim, the President of the South African Table Tennis Board, boldly accepted the challenge; his troops responded; the challenge was met with aplomb.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the Press Officer for the ITTF-African Table Tennis Federation
Key elements to host any major events revolve around funding, manpower, organisation and leadership; the South African Table Tennis Board started planning in 2014. The real work started early in 2015 to secure the venues, hotels and major suppliers.
Annually the national government provides grants to the respective federations, the major focus being on development, school sport and support for federations to participate in identified and selected competitions. The provincial governments normally provide funding and support for events in their respective provinces.
The gains of hosting the championships are numerous but, in particular, such an event provides the impetus for meaningful development. The visibility of a “minor sport”, in a world where the focus is on rugby, cricket, golf and football, impacts negatively on sponsorship opportunities.
An event such as this provides the platform to showcase the best in the World on our local stage and we are hopeful that this exposure will entice sponsors. This event was also an ideal platform for our players to measure themselves against the best and spur them to work harder. Opportunities beyond our borders were presented to talented individuals and we are hopeful that some may gain access to the major leagues.
The entire event was a highlight. The single focus by the Local Organising Committee and volunteers ensured success; it was an illustration of how a common objective can bring people together. The major challenge for a junior event is its inability to attract global sponsors. Live television coverage and the requirements as laid out by the International table Tennis Federation makes it more difficult. Volunteers were drawn from the table tennis fraternity.
What I will remember about the tournament were the smiles on the faces of the participants and officials. The presentation of the event and atmosphere during the individual finals will always be remembered. Tomakazu Harimoto’s achievements will also spur coaches to work with younger players while increasing awareness of the media on the status of the game in our country.