by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably the focus is on youth; at least 50 per cent of the crew must be in the age range 15 years to 25 years; thus each year some 3,000 to 4,000 young people participate. Also, wherever the ships dock, a festival that includes cultural and sporting activities, takes place on the quayside.
Table tennis was not left out. On the quayside in Halmstad, which witnessed an estimated 400,000 people watching the crews prepare and then depart, the sport was prominent thanks to the enterprising efforts of Ping Pong Power, the organisation responsible not only for promoting the 2018 World Team Championships but also for upholding the long standing traditions of the sport in the Nordic country.
Masterminded by Thomas Busa, the Marketing and Communication Manager for the 2018 World Championships, in co-operation with Sebastian Rangs, Sales and Marketing Manager for Butterfly Europe, a table tennis village was quickly erected.
“For the organisation this was a perfect way of showcasing table tennis as a sport for everyone, a sport that can be played both inside as well as outside. Information about the 2018 World Championships was also presented to the large amount of visitors. Next year’s World Championships will be the largest sport event in Sweden in 2018. To make this event possible we also need around 400 volunteers, so we took the chance to inform the visitors about how to sign up and what type of skills and abilities we are looking for.” Thomas Buza
In addition, supported locally by the Halmstad Table Tennis Club, the occasion very much endorsed the principles of Ping Pong Power and Butterfly, over the years the company being one of the major supporters of the ITTF Development Programme.
“This was a great opportunity for us to show the beauty of table tennis and the fact that anyone can play. Also, we have a vision to create awareness and pride for the giant event that will take place here next year among the residents of the city; so basically, this was an opportunity we did not want to lose.” Thomas Buza
“It feels great to be part of Ping Pong Power in both social and promotional aspects. Through the concept we are able to reach broader markets as well as being a part of increasing and improving the image of table tennis as a cool and healthy sport.” Sebastian Rangs
A successful venture and in many ways it is just the start as Ping Power prepares an extensive promotion campaign.
“During autumn, as part of the promotional activities that will precede the Championships, the city of Halmstad will be invaded with table tennis tables from Butterfly and Double Happiness, both official sponsors for the 2018 World Team Championships. The aim is to show the broader public what a fantastic sport table tennis is in all aspects.” Thomas Buza
The 2018 World Championships will take place from Sunday 29th April to Sunday 6th May.