The ITTF Executive Committee held a meeting in Malmö on 26 and 27 July with future World Championships Finals, Annual General Meetings, and the Home of Table Tennis key topics on the agenda.
One of the major items discussed was the decision to host the inaugural ITTF Summit this year. After two years marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and travelling restrictions, the ITTF Summit will gather table tennis leaders of the world to shape the future of the sport.
Items for the Summit will include the 2022 ITTF Annual General Meeting conference series, the Board of Director meetings, the Continental Council meetings and the Executive Committee meetings. Keynotes and workshops on sustainability and diversity will also be organised.
ITTF President Petra Sörling commented, “The ITTF Summit will be a fantastic way to bring the table tennis family together after two years of travel restrictions and videoconferences. We will take the time to meet, exchange best practices, share ideas, and extend our network. This summit must become a key rendezvous for the Olympic and Paralympic movements and the business community. I also want to welcome guest speakers with specific expertise to ensure the table tennis family stays at the forefront of all important topics.”
The host city will make history organising the inaugural ITTF Summit, welcoming delegates from 227 Member Associations, ITTF Executives, global representatives from the Table Tennis Family and guests from the sports movement and the business community. Six cities have already expressed their interest. The hosting period is set between 15 November and 15 December; the ITTF Executive Committee will select the host no later than 12 August.
Positive outlook for future World Championships
Hosting the 2022 ITTF Annual General Meeting during the ITTF Summit, and not as part of the World Championships Finals, will allow the Chinese organisers to concentrate their efforts on delivering the tournament.
The two-month-to-go milestone for the Chengdu 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals marked on Saturday 30 July, the ITTF and the Chengdu Preparatory Committee are accelerating their preparations. The Executive Committee was pleased with the progress made regarding the COVID-19 countermeasures to ensure all participants arrive smoothly, participate securely, and return safely. The complete set of guidelines will be available in August.
The ITTF Executive Committee also confirmed that the Table Tennis Federation of Russia (TTFR) and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at the Chengdu 2022 ITTF World Team Championships Finals.
The Executive Committee had decided on 1 March 2022 not to allow the participation of TTFR and Belarusian players in ITTF events, in line with the recommendations formulated by the IOC Executive Board.
The ITTF task force, which monitors the situation in Ukraine and co-ordinates efforts to allow Ukrainian players to continue participating in table tennis competitions, and evaluates previous decisions and future developments, had advised the Executive Committee the conditions that would allow overturning this decision had not been met.
Updates on the preparation for the Granada 2022 World Para Table Tennis Championships, the Tunis 2022 World Youth Table Tennis Championships, the Oman 2023 World Veteran Table Tennis Championships, the Durban 2023 World Table Tennis Championships Finals and the Busan 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals were presented to Executive Committee members. They expressed their satisfaction on the progress made by the organising committees.
Home of Table Tennis
The Executive Committee also decided to re-activate the “Home of Table Tennis” project.
Launched in 2019, the project aimed at finding the global Home of Table Tennis, comprising the ITTF Headquarters, a Training Centre, a High-Performance & Development base, plus a laboratory for research and investigation.
A tender process launched; requests from several candidate cities had been received prior to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the world and putting the project on pause.
Executive Vice President, Masahiro Maehara, has been tasked with the mission of reviewing the concept of the project.
He commented: “We had received numerous expressions of interest, and cities are now looking for opportunities to stimulate their economies. That is why we believe the time has come for us to resume our search. Our clear objective is to identify mutually beneficial partnerships. However, the world has dramatically changed in two years. Teleworking, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, we have to incorporate the learnings of the pandemic into the ‘Home of Table Tennis’ concept. I will start working on this immediately and provide my fellow Executive Members with recommendations on how to carry on with this project.”
World Table Tennis Building Momentum
The ITTF Executive Committee also praised the WTT European Summer Series 2022 this month in Budapest, Hungary. World Table Tennis has now delivered every tier of its pyramid of events and is finalising the events’ calendar for next year.
As it continues organising spectacular events worldwide, World Table Tennis is gathering momentum and support from every stakeholder. To further build on this success, the Executive Committee agreed to engage the athletes more.
Steve Dainton, ITTF Group CEO and World Table Tennis Director, will prepare recommendations which will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Executive Committee.
Meeting in Malmö
In the coastal city of Southern Sweden, the Executive Committee members were warmly welcomed for their meeting, with Liu Guoliang attending remotely.
Pehr Palm, Managing Director of Event in Skåne – the organisation supporting the hosting of exhibitions and conventions in Skåne county, gave opening remarks in the first part of the meeting, showcasing the innovative spirit of the region. On the second day, Johan Hermansson, Director of the Malmö Recreation and Sports Department, emphasised the power of table tennis to support inclusion in the most international Swedish city.
Executive Committee members also participated in a friendly table tennis tournament with the President and Secretary General of the Swedish Table Tennis Association and the ITTF Group management staff, also gathered in Malmö for a seminar.
Notes to editors:
Members of the ITTF Executive Committee and their respective portfolios:
- Petra SÖRLING: Strategic Plan, Human Resources, Sustainability, Olympic and Paralympic Games, Academies, External Relations, Member Relations, Diversity (Gender, Universality)
- Khalil AL-MOHANNADI: Continental Council, Events, World Championships
- Alaor AZEVEDO: Health, Innovation, Para Table Tennis
- LIU Guoliang: Commercial (WTT), High Performance, ITTF Museum
- Masahiro MAEHARA: Entourage, Home of Table Tennis, Sport Science
- Alaa MESHREF: Athletes, Development, IT & Digitalisation
- Roland NATRAN: Finance, Veterans
- Wahid OSHODI: Communications & Protocol, Governance, World Ranking
- Graham SYMONS: Clean Sport / Integrity, Equipment, Sport for All
- Zoran PRIMORAC: Athletes Commission (together with Dr. Alaa MESHREF)
- RYU Seungmin: Olympic and Paralympic Games (together with Petra SÖRLING)