by Jia Li, ITTF Foundation Communication Coordinator
Where it all began
In 1967, the SCI was born at a meeting of 22 former World Championship players in Stockholm, Sweden. The mission of the SCI was clear from the beginning – to encourage international friendship through social activities around table tennis, and to promote sportsmanship and peace among younger payers.
“I am sure that the Swaythling Club is a unique organisation in the world of sport. I hope that it will continue to develop and promote what money cannot buy: friendship, health, love, faithfulness, loyalty and tolerance.” – Zarko Dolinar, Acting President 1972.
To emphasise the importance of sportsmanship the SCI endorses, the Richard Bergmann Fair Play Trophy and the Swaythling Club Universal Prize have been set up to honour the best sporting behaviour.
“Table tennis is good for friendship and fairness. It is a sport for everyone regardless of age, gender, or physical abilities. You can play table tennis all your life and wins and losses are accepted quite well in the sport.” – Eberhard Schöler.
Staying connected through table tennis
For the SCI members, the passion for table tennis continues even after retiring from their professional athletic career.
“We encourage all members to stay in contact with table tennis. We promote veteran events on all levels, and this helps our members to stay active and motivated. Many of them start their day with reading the updates on the SCI website. They are eager to find out about the latest development in their favourite sport.”
For some, the club has become their second family.
“The SCI has provided many of our members with financial help to overcome personal, mainly health issues. All of our members have contributed greatly to table tennis, and it is our responsibility to support them in the time of need.”
Where the club is going
“Table tennis has come a long way since I played internationally. The playing conditions are now better, and the game has changed considerably since it started. It is a more organised game now, from the control of the strokes, the reaction to the balls coming from the opponent, and the understanding of a winning strategy. It takes much more to be a champion now.”
The SCI is happy to see how the sport has developed, and the impact it has on younger players.
“The new playing conditions, although more challenging, also provides the young generation a more holistic approach to table tennis. It not only exercises their body, but also trains their willpower, determination, and sportsmanship.”
Convinced by the power of table tennis in shaping a better generation of adults, the SCI becomes an important driving force behind attracting more young people to table tennis.
“We encourage all associations to take the necessary steps to improve the standard of play in the youth area. We have created the Best Player Award at World Junior Championships (until 2010) and the Junior Fair Play Award (from 2010 onwards) to honour those younger players that exhibit the spirit of table tennis we stand behind.”
For its members, the SCI stands for the family its members have found in each other. For the worldwide table tennis community, the SCI is an integral part in making our sport universal and appealing to the younger audience.
Learn more about Swaythling Club International here.
Check out October’s issue of the Swaythling Club Magazine here.