28 May 2017

Dein song für eine welt; the message from three boys and five girls, who had combined to form the group that won the song contest to appear at the Opening Ceremony on the afternoon of Sunday 28th May at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf.

One game, one world was the message as Jonny Cowan, in the role of Master of Ceremonies, with his distinctive Irish lilt, introduced Thomas Weikert, President of the International Table Tennis Federation to all assembled in the Esprit Arena.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Over 400 million viewers are expected to follow the eight day event; Thomas Weikert stressed the fact the tournament would build on the past and progress to new heights, the introduction of modern media innovations being an important factor.

“An aerial camera, ball tracking are just two of the exciting innovations that will add to the occasion. Also, we will have the Liebherr Live Daily Show which will recap each day’s action, bringing the stunning performances of the world’s best players closer to the millions of fans, watching the tournament either live or on demand. Television production during the tournament will be the best ever.” Thomas Weikert

Equally, Thomas Weikert thanked and praised all concerned; he paid tribute the sponsor, the officials and all involved in the organisation of the event in whatever capacity. Furthermore, clearly he was aware of the dreadful happening in Manchester earlier in the week, the city which two decades ago in 1997 had been the host for the 44th World Championships.

“My most important wish is that the Championships at the Düsseldorf International Expo Centre will become a meeting point of nations, a unifying element. Sincerely, I hope that throughout the eight days, everyone in whatever capacity brings you here; that you will enjoy a peaceful, fair, friendly and welcoming World Championships, one that will stay in their hearts forever.” Thomas Weikert

The views were echoed by the dignitaries who joined the ITTF President on stage; present was Michael Geiger, President of the German Table Tennis Association, Thomas Geisel, the Major of Düsseldorf and Bernd Neuendorf, the Secretary of State for the North Rhine Westphalia for Families Children, Youth, Culture and Sport.

All echoed the views of Thomas Weikert; stressing the great atmosphere of goodwill and desire to succeed which prevailed.

“We have good promotion, good partners and a great tradition of willing volunteers; here I hope that one effect will be to encourage you people to play table tennis.” Michael Geiger.

“It’s a game for everyone, all you need is a bat, ball and a table and you can play table tennis.” Thomas Geisel

“Staging the event in Düsseldorf; one of our main aims in that it encourages young people to play sport.” Bernd Neuendorf

Distinguished guests and there were distinguished name to assist Werner Thury, the Referee and Jonny Cowan conduct the draw for the top 16 players.

Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen, the top two players in the Women’s Singles event drew the names, the player who was draw stepped forward to unlock the ball which carried the number of the place in the draw. The same procedure followed in the Men’s Singles event with Ma Long and Fan Zhendong replacing Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen.

Smiles all round and Thomas Weikert had every reason to smile.

“There is a real hype for these Championships; Düsseldorf is table tennis city, even the weather is fine!” Thomas Weikert.

The prediction for Monday 29th May in Düsseldorf, the day play commences, the day which will witness the heat of battle, is 35 degrees Celcius!

Liebherr 2017 World Championships Thomas Weikert

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