by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
On Tuesday 29th August, in preparation for the global junior event, Egypt’s Mohamed Dawlatly and Algeria’s Mounir Bessah, the ITTF Competition Managers, who will be on duty in Riva del Garda, held an inspection visit.
They met Renato Di Napoli, the President of the Italian Table Tennis Federation and Marco Benedetti, President of Garda Trentino Spa, the local tourist body, in addition to members of the organising committee.
“The technical level of the event will be very high this year due to the incredibly talented players, notably from Japan, China and Romania who will compete this year for medals. We will have the 20 best teams and 100 best junior players for both the boys’ and girls’ competitions. It is a show not to be missed for table tennis fans that will come from all over Italy, the rest of Europe and the world. It is also an opportunity to strengthen the close co-operation between our federation and the Garda Trentino, whose local Committee have already proved their ability and competence”. Renato di Napoli
A tournament organising committee with experience; also the area is renowned for its lakes and picturesque countryside; whilst the immediate future may well be focused indoors, the longer term future may seem some return in the summer months to savour the region.
“Table tennis is a popular sport in Germany, our main touristic market but it is also a popular discipline that all somehow have practised. Played at these high levels, it will be a great show and a positive experience for us, like for the ETTU 2014 Championships. In this case, we will also have the opportunity to consistently promote our territory in Asia, which makes us doubly happy. Also, it will introduce the beautiful Garda Trentino to millions of Asian fans.” Marco Benedetti
Notably in 2014 Riva del Garda was the home for the European Youth Championships, an event that more than matches the size of the World Junior Championships in terms of numbers and logistics. It is a tournament that is no stranger to the country; Italy hosted the European Youth Championships in 1979 in Rome, in 1998 in Norcia before in both 2001 and 2008 in Terni.
Also, in 1996 in Bolzano; then in 1998 and 2002, Courmayeur was the home for ITTF World Tour tournaments, as well as the following year, the European Championships.
One fact is clear, in Italy there is bank of experience; a well organised and carefully presented World Championships undoubtedly awaits.