“SPORT.CITY.BUSINESS. – The Experts Talk” is a biannual event organised by the city of Dusseldorf, bringing together leading figures in their field to discuss the far-reaching effects and influence of sport. The evening is attended by 200 guests from business, society, culture and sports, invited by Dusseldorf’s lord mayor Thomas Geisel.
With the 2017 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships (Liebherr WTTC) taking place in Dusseldorf, ITTF President Thomas Weikert, German Table Tennis Federation Honorary President Hans Wilhelm Gaeb and German national coach Jorg Rosskopf took centre stage for the most recent “SPORT. CITY. BUSINESS” forum. During the evening they discussed the Liebherr WTTC, business and sponsors effects on table tennis and the past and current situation of the sport.
“We expect up to 700 participants from around 120 nations at the Liebherr WTTC. Dusseldorf, Germany and the world will see a high level event and a harmonious, colourful melting pot of cultures and religions.” ITTF President Thomas Weikert
The event not only looks to be a success with the athletes, but the championships are already attracting record breaking attention from the fans.
“The last three days are already sold out, the day before will soon be sold out. This is a huge success not only for the organisers but also for table tennis in general. I can’t remember this happening before, at least never in Germany.” ITTF President Thomas Weikert
Weikert illustrated that holding the Liebherr WTTC has a broader scope for influence than just what goes on inside the stadium; it’s also about having a positive impact on the city and surrounding region.
“Events like the Liebherr WTTC have sustainable side effects for table tennis, not only for the people who are visiting the event. The promotion made around the event in Dusseldorf encourages people of all ages to play table tennis. For example, Timo Boll’s club Borussia Dusseldorf created an event where every citizen can take part before the WTTC starts. They play table tennis in the historical city as well as in football stadiums, schools and senior residences.” ITTF President Thomas Weikert
Table tennis’ reach continues to grow and an historical moment looms just over the horizon, not only for table tennis, but the sporting the world as well.
“Table tennis is a lifetime sport, we never should forget that. This is one reason that table tennis is now the largest sports federation world wide with 222 member associations. We also hope to announce at the AGM at least three more member associations from the missing four. I am proud to say that ITTF is very close to becoming the first sports federation in unifying all nations of the world under one roof.” ITTF President Thomas Weikert
It is clear that it’s cities like Dusseldorf acting as catalysts for development that has allowed table tennis to be the global sport it is today.
“Table tennis, the ITTF and the German federation will find a perfect stage in Dusseldorf to successfully promote table tennis.” ITTF President Thomas Weikert