by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Earlier, this year in March, Khalil Al Mohannadi, the President of the Qatar Table Tennis Association and currently Deputy President of the International Table Tennis Federation, was elected President of the Arab Table Tennis Union at a meeting convened in Tunisia; the tenure of office being from 2017 to 2020.
At the time Khalil Al-Mohannadi stressed that he wished to focus on building a structure which will enable the sport of table tennis to progress in the Arab world. He explained, he sought to follow very much an open door policy in order to encourage those who could contribute to the organisation and development of the sport in the region. Especially he stressed the need to create opportunities for a new generation of young players.
Thus high on the agenda is the subject of marketing; at the recent meeting in Doha Thomas Weikert, President of the International Table Tennis Federation was present, alongside Steve Dainton, ITTF Marketing Director.
“I am extremely pleased there were so many countries in attendance in my home country of Qatar. For the first time for the Arab Union came together to discuss marketing initiatives with the ITTF President and ITTF staff responsible, which makes me believe we have a bright future ahead of us.” Khalil Al-Mohannadi
Now, since the start of the year, with the commercial rights being once again under the full control of the International Table Tennis Federation, far seeing agreements have been made with regional bodies to promote and market the sport. Notably accords have been signed with Oceania and North America.
“Since taking the commercial and marketing rights back in house the ITTF continues its pledge to help all regions around the globe; from helping to seek sponsors, investors and grow the commercial values of all table tennis properties around the world.” Thomas Weikert
Notably, Qatar is only the third home for the Arab Table Tennis Union. The organisation was formed on 1956 with offices in Egypt, the offices moved to Saudi Arabia in 1976; now in 2017 the home is Qatar.
The Arab Table Tennis Union comprises members from two continents, Africa and Asia.
African members are: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The members from Asia are: Bahrain, Iraq Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.