Elected at the end of last year, ITTF President Petra Sörling gathered the ITTF leadership in Malmö, Sweden, for two weeks of meetings and briefings to consider the sport’s strategic course for the sport years to come.
The ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton and the ITTF Secretary General Raul Calin travelled from the ITTF Asia Pacific Office to attend the entire session, which consisted of meetings, consultations and workshops with elected officials, Member Associations, Continental Federations, ITTF staff and players.
This led to the decision to reposition the work being done on an updated Strategic Plan to be a new Strategic plan which fits better the transition the ITTF has initiated in the last few years and takes into account the pandemic’s impact.
“The Strategic Plan delivered positive changes to the table tennis community but needs updates to tackle challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Sörling. “We will do a comprehensive review and set the best strategic direction for our sport considering the current realities.”
An Executive Committee meeting, the first Continental Council meeting, and the Para Table Tennis Committee meeting were held during this period.
The ITTF leadership also met with Mr Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen, President of the Badminton World Federation, and with the leaders of the Danish, German, and Swedish Table Tennis Associations. Moreover, they took part in a panel session with the Malmö authorities on hosting events in the “new normal”.
Members of the ITTF Group, including High Performance & Development Director Polona Cehovin, Member Relations Director Mounir Bessah and the ITTF Foundation Director Leandro Olvech, attended the session partly. Others joined remotely from all over the world.
Several planning meetings related to the organisation of the ITTF Group also took place, resulting in an updated staff structure which will come into effect soon.
“The bold plans we had in place for the ITTF Group are fully coming to life, and this will be reflected in the updated staff structure,” said Dainton. “The ITTF, as the sport governing body, the commercial and events platform World Table Tennis, and the ITTF Foundation as the social responsibility arm. I felt it was important to spend more time with Petra at the beginning of her mandate so that we could update her in more details of the work of previous years but also debate and discuss the future. It really was a positive two weeks which has sowed the seeds for a positive future for our sport.”
The ITTF will now develop a pathway and set key milestones to guide the new strategy’s implementation and monitor its progress.