Leaders of the ITTF and the Para Table Tennis Committee held strategic discussions last week and set the future course of Para Table Tennis to further reinforce its standing among the Paralympic sports.
In attendance were:
- Petra Sörling, ITTF Vice President
- Constantina Crotta, Chair of the Para Table Tennis Committee
- Alena Kanova, Member of the ITTF Athletes’ Commission
- Gorazd Vecko, Member of the Para Table Tennis Committee
- Raul Calin, ITTF Secretary General
- Pablo Perez, Para Table Tennis Events and Classification Manager
“To finally be able to meet again in person is amazing,” said Sörling. “We have held a very fruitful meeting with Para Table Tennis on the upcoming strategic plan for the sport. In addition, we had the pleasure to have our CEO Steve Dainton remotely joining the meeting from Singapore as well as members from the Para Table Tennis Committee. I would like to thank them all for their timeless contribution and passion for table tennis.”
It was agreed to create a dedicated strategic plan for Para Table Tennis and to design a new professional circuit starting in 2023, with the support of an external consulting firm.
“We engaged in long, fruitful discussions regarding several topics, always keeping in mind what is best for the Para Table Tennis athletes,” said Crotta. “I am looking forward to the strategic plan to build the future of Para Table Tennis and we will do our best to contribute to our sport.”
The tournament calendar for the year 2022 was also discussed as well as the bidding process and qualification system for the 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships, and changes in the events’ structure such as the substitution of the team event with doubles and mixed doubles events.
Furthermore, a review of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020’s competitions was also on the agenda, with preliminary discussions regarding Paris 2024’s competition programme.
“We worked with all the members of the Para Table Tennis Committee, and we fully reviewed the 2019-2021 period in order to find ways to further improve Para Table Tennis,” said Vecko. “I am convinced that with the help of Petra Sörling, Steve Dainton, Raul Calin, and Pablo Perez, and the whole Para Table Tennis Committee, our sport has a great and exciting future ahead.”
The following members of the Para Table Tennis Committee also joined the meeting remotely:
- Bankole Anderson (NGR)
- Cristina Chee (MAS)
- Nouri Guerfel (TUN)
- Trevor Hirth (AUS)
- Sheng K. Wu (TPE)
- Mohsen Parvazishandi (IRI)
- Edimilson Pinheiro (BRA)
- Sarah de Rozario (AUS)
“It was a productive two-day seminar during which we sought solutions with a clear vision for our sport’s future,” added Kanova. “As a member of the Athletes’ Commission, and on behalf of the athletes, I would like to thank all the participants for their cooperation.”
The extension the partnership with 729 was also announced. The sports equipment supplier will provide the official ball of the Para Tour for one more year.