By Neha Aggarwal
The Olympic Games is not just a sporting event, it is a way of life. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, believed in the power of sports to promote peace, bring countries and communities together, stop hate and war, enjoy healthy competition free from cheating and discrimination and promote a healthy lifestyle.
The world comes together on Olympic Day to promote these values; through its various projects, the ITTF promotes these values tirelessly.
ITTF: One game, one world
In the early seventies, the ping pong diplomacy became a unifying force between two nations. It ended the conflicted relationships between USA and People’s Republic of China, and embarked a new era in the Sino-American relations. Almost four decades later, in 2017, the ITTF brought the entire world under one blanket- the ITTF family. In May 2017, the ITTF completed a full house membership of all 226 nations on earth, thus becoming the only international organization to have members from all possible countries on the planet.
The concept of One Game, One World that was promoted by the ITTF blends with the values of the Olympic Movement, as it truly unifies the world, making the game accessible to all.
ITTF’s current refugees initiatives, under the motto of “Breaking Down Barriers with Table Tennis Balls” is aimed towards solving the current refugee crisis. It is focused on creating positive social change in the refugees’ lives while leaving a lasting legacy for table tennis to flourish.
Table tennis: A unifying force
A game that can be played by people of all ages, is taking the world by storm. The growing popularity of the game goes beyond all age groups, kids, youth, adults and aged. The nature of the sport, ease of accessibility and the fun element is widely enjoyed by all. A combination of athleticism, intelligence, speed, and fast reactions, table tennis is thrilling and is a sport that is played by people belonging to different walks of life.
ITTF also launched TTX last year, which is a new version of table tennis that attracts the millennials and Generation Z.
For the professionals, playing table tennis at the Olympic Games is a dream; those who have achieved it realize its importance in their lives. Table tennis legend Vladimir Samsonov said, “Six olympic games of course it’s a special experience. I always want to win a medal actually last time I was closer than before, play to the semi-final. The atmosphere is great, it was fantastic to meet athletes from all over the world, from different sport and it was great experience.”
The ITTF has been promoting the game transcending all age and territorial hurdles. Today, at the Olympic Day, the world is active, playing table tennis, amongst all age groups, breaking barriers, bringing people together and making the world a happier place.
For the ITTF, its not only today, Olympic Day is everyday.