by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Invited by Cai Zhenhua, the President of the Asian Table Tennis Union, Thomas Weikert addressed those present.
He explained the situation regarding TMS International, who for many years had dealt with the commercial rights of the International Table Tennis Federation and that now such rights would be back in house.
Additionally he emphasised the need for transparency and underlined the fact that he wished to assists continents with development.
At first sight it may appear that Asia possessing the world’s leading powers with the likes of China, Japan and Korea Republic may be considered as developed, as opposed to developing but it is very much the continent of two extremes.
East Timor is one of the newer members of the International Table Tennis Federation; they were accepted officially at the Congress staged on the occasion of the Liebherr 2003 World Championships in Paris. Notably Nepal was the focus earlier this year of World Table Tennis Day.
Furthermore, Thomas Weikert explained the mandate of the ITTF Event Working Group charged with researching the policy for future major events; of course when major events are the subject then the Olympic Games tops the list.
Looking ahead Thomas Weikert was able to explain the proposal to include Mixed Doubles in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Both sides of the coin addressed, top level and development; Thomas Weikert also highlighted a third side. He expressed a wish to promote Para table tennis.
Most certainly at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the crowds had responded in numbers to the efforts of the brave athletes; if there is a competition that brings a tear to the eye in appreciation it is Paralympic sport.
Unquestionably, the views of Thomas Weikert were appreciated and, in addition to the formal meeting, there was an opportunity to meet informally and exchange ideas; informal meetings are often the most important, the catalyst for progress.