Table Tennis is entering an exciting new era with the dawn of World Table Tennis. As the very name of the organisation suggests, the core objective of WTT is to make table tennis a truly global sport.
Over many years, China has established itself as the main powerhouse in table tennis, with Liu Guoliang having spearheaded much of the nation’s success, in his playing career, during which he was crowned Olympic and World Champion, as a coach and as president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA).
Liu Guoliang is a man who understands the power of National Associations to develop players, to grow the game and to bring glory to their country. Now, as WTT Council Chair, his role is to ensure that the sport can make real steps forward in all parts of the world.
A bold and honourable mission, there are strong foundations: table tennis is already played across the planet with a grand total of 226 National Associations in operation, the maximum number possible.
Liu Guoliang declared:
“The potential to produce talented players worldwide has always been there, and there are already some fine examples, but now is the time to accelerate this process.
“Naturally, World Table Tennis wants the top players playing the top events, which is crucial to the commercialisation of the sport, but we also want our star athletes from all corners of the world, just like we want to entertain and appeal to fans in every nation too.
“In order to achieve this, we know that we need to work very closely indeed with the National Associations, who are key drivers for the development of our sport in each country and a crucial element of the overall table tennis ecosystem.”
WTT is committed to working closely with all National Associations regarding their players’ involvement at WTT events.
The same tight collaboration will also facilitate the successful hosting of WTT events, as underlined by Liu Guoliang:
“WTT is looking forward to the involvement of the National Associations in hosting WTT events. After all, National Associations are the guardians of the sport in their own countries, so for the event to be as great as can be and have the strongest possible appeal among the people, the National Associations need to be involved.”
One key step towards this objective is WTT’s plan to open up regional offices around the world, as Steve Dainton explains:
“At present, WTT has offices located in Singapore and China and the organisation is looking to expand its network of regional offices to other parts of the world, starting with Europe, as traditionally the second biggest table tennis market worldwide after Asia. Over the years, Europe has hosted the highest number of events and there are also many famous players that have hailed from Europe with some of the current stars, Timo Boll, Mattias Falck, Vladimir Samsonov, Sofia Polcanova, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Marcos Freitas, Petrissa Solja, Liam Pitchford, Simon Gauzy and Bernadette Szocs just to name a few.
“The end goal is to have offices set up in all key markets worldwide, helping to tighten WTT’s relationship with all regions of the world, ensuring that the sport continues to grow on a truly global level, in terms of player development, events, fan engagement, and more.”
Liu Guoliang emphasised:
“In order to make WTT a genuine success, it is clear that the entire table tennis family needs to work together in unison. WTT is not just for the top players and top event organisers. It is for everyone that has ever played, watched or been involved in our great sport.
“WTT is for all of us, so let us all work together to make our dreams a reality.”