“Health” is the focal point of the latest initiative launched by the ITTF, through the ITTF Foundation: namely that of creating and supporting the first ever ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships.
The new project will form part of the 6th Pillar of the ITTF Foundation that promotes health through table tennis, with this first event aimed at raising awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and improving the lives of those diagnosed with it.
“PLAYING TABLE TENNIS MADE ME FEEL 50% BETTER”
For international music composer, Nenad Bach, table tennis has been the key to regaining his ability to play the guitar and pursue his passion for music once more.
“I stopped playing the guitar five years after I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but then I started playing table tennis and I felt 50% better. Now I am playing the guitar again.
“The idea behind this Championship is to help as many people around the world as possible to continue living with Parkinson’s Disease and to be happy, productive members of the society. We are also engaging the scientific community to look deeper into the health benefits of table tennis.”
Nenad Bach, Founder and Board Member of Ping Pong Parkinson
Regarding such health benefits related to the sport, the National Parkinson Foundation states that “table tennis may be especially good for patients, because it exercises so many parts of the body and the brain, while reinforcing timing, rhythm and balance.”
HEALTH TO PLAY PROMINENT ROLE IN FUTURE ITTF PROGRAMMES
The ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championshipsinitiative maintains the momentum built by the ITTF and ITTF Foundation in recent months of harnessing the power of table tennis for implementing positive social change.
Following on from the Unified Korea campaign, the endorsement of the ITTF Strategic Plan and official launch of the ITTF Foundation, which is already heavily involved in community work across the world through the Dream Building Fund, the focus of many future programmes will be centred around ‘Health’, starting with next year’s ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships.
“Since we were so touched by our meeting with Mr. Nenad Bach, a true believer of the cause with his own personal story to tell, we felt that the first event should be connected to Parkinson’s Disease.
“We are really excited with this project and the direction of the ITTF Foundation, which can lead to amazing results, which in turn will hopefully help many patients and people in need around the world.”
Thomas Weikert, ITTF President
The ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships will be held between 11-13 October 2019 at the Westchester Table Tennis Centre in Pleasantville, New York, in collaboration with Ping Pong Parksinson.
“I’m proud that the Westchester Table Tennis Center is hosting this ground-breaking event. It highlights the fact that table tennis can be a particularly effective means of battling Parkinson’s Disease.”
Will Shortz, Board Member of Ping Pong Parkinson
Players will compete in three different categories, based on the degree of their Parkinson’s symptoms (mild, moderate and advanced), following universally recognised standards. Categorization will take place on the day before the event by a team consisting of 1-2 neurologists and professional players.
The playing format will guarantee multiple matches for every player and, without losing the purpose of a world title level competition, it should be considered a social event, acting fundamentally as a means to help people with Parkinson’s Disease.