by Ian Marshall, Editor
Some three years ago, 65 year old Nenad Bach, a prominent peace activist who appeared alongside the late Luciano Pavarotti in 1995 at a humanitarian concert for the children of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He started to play table tennis; the result is life has improved.
“Parkinson’s is not a disease, it is a diagnosis.” Nenad Bach
Now, following the signing of a contract with the ITTF Foundation, the inaugural Parkinson World Championships will be staged from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th October at the Westchester Club in New York, the club owned by Will Shortz, the man who designs the crosswords for the New York Times.
Present for the signing in Budapest was Thomas Weikert, ITTF President alongside Steve Dainton, ITTF Chief Executive Officer, Leandro Olvech, ITTF Foundation Director and fellow Croatian, Zoran Primorac, Chair of the ITTF Athletes’ Commission.
“I met Nenad at the World Parkinson Day gathering in Zagreb in 2017, we spoke, we played and it interested me that table tennis could help him; so for me it was how best we could promote the cause. I am grateful to the ITTF for the support, after only one year we have a world championships.” Zoran Primorac
A motivated Zoran Primorac, now there is a highly inspired group of delegates, Marko Spes, Kreso Grobenski, Silvio Grobenski and Danijela Pospis all actively supporting the initiative of the championships.
All are inspired by the positive, forward thinking of Nenad Bach; such initiatives are very much at the heart of Thomas Weikert who sees sport in a wide sphere, more than competition, more than winning and losing.
“We met last year in Halmstad, a pillar of our programme within the ITTF Foundation is health, so we looked at what we could do to support.” Thomas Weikert.
Moreover, Nenad Bach demonstrated the fact that table tennis has helped his musical ability by playing the guitar to the strains of a song written for the occasion.
“My posture is better through playing table tennis, I shake less, I think better and my syncopation when playing the guitar is better. I played table tennis in my youth, it’s an inexpensive sport, everyone can play; it is a sport that is beneficial to all of us.” Nenad Bach
The music was appreciated by all, most certainly in Steve Dainton, Nenad Bach has a fan.
“Last year in Halmstad it was one of those moments you will never forget; it was a step of how we could work together. I am really excited about this first world championship.” Steve Dainton
In Budapest from all concerned there is a sense of anticipation, a sense that table tennis can achieve what no other sport can achieve; a sport that is to the benefit of mankind, a sport that is ahead of the field.
Full details of the Parkinson World Championships will be issued shortly; watch this space.