The ITTF Development Team has recently published their Annual Report for the year of 2022. It details their achievements over the span of the year, including successful results from a comprehensive list of development programs, projects and initiatives aimed to develop table tennis worldwide.
Two of the biggest and most extensive programs are the Continents Program and the Participation Program. The broader-based Continents Program aims to grow the sport across the different continents by engaging stakeholders on a regional and continental level, in conjunction with the Participation Program, which ensures that take up rates remain high by empowering Member Associations to facilitate the growth of table tennis.
These predominantly target athlete development and capacity building within Member Associations, with the former focusing on talented players who aspire and have the potential to become global table tennis stars, while the latter refers to empowering promising individuals of various profiles to contribute at the highest national level in a professional capacity. The Participation Program also supports the overall development and growth of table tennis globally, focusing on providing opportunities, incentives and universal support to each Member Association – customisable based on their unique needs.
The initiatives are led by Development Director, Polona Cehovin, who reinforced the importance of working closely with the Member Associations.
Regarding the yearlong developments, she said, “Our plan for 2022 was carried out smoothly, very much what was initially envisioned for the 2021-2024 quadrennial. This success would not have been possible without the outstanding responsiveness of the membership, and we would like to sincerely thank them for that.”
Dr Alaa Meshref, the ITTF Executive Vice-President overseeing the area of Development, is also positive about the achievements, adding, “The Development Objective is an important pillar of the Master Continental Agreements that the ITTF signs with the Continental Federations, the other two being Governance and Events. Looking at the outcomes and figures achieved in 2022 fills us with optimism as they clearly indicate that our sport is developing and growing globally and the hope is that the continuous efforts and the constant enhancement and customisation of the Development portfolio will contribute further to global growth and popularity of our sport, including the globalisation of competitiveness and ultimately assuring a sustainable development of table tennis in all aspects.”
2022 closed with an activation rate of nearly 80% from close to 160 member associations for the Development Team’s range of programs and activities, a significant milestone. Moreover, more than 70 new national projects were initiated, with training camps, national events and school projects being the top in terms of reach.
Another point of focus is the Development Team’s commitment towards achieving gender balance. With the continuation of the “My Gender. My Strength.” project, there was a marked increase in the number of female participants taking part in development activities, which is at 45% now. This highlights a significant move in the right direction and remains an area to be further amplified.
With all these different initiatives in place, 2022 was also a year whereby professional development across different profiles gained momentum, mentorship in particular, with around 240 applications received for the year.
While the growth of table tennis remains at the heart of all plans, player development continues to play an important role. Specific incentives were implemented, including grants for para-athletes, which is on top of the established Youth Grants for able-bodied youth, indicating a greater shift towards inclusivity.
As the year ahead beckons, the ITTF Development Team remains committed to progressively enhance the reach of table tennis and at the same time, amplify its participation rates around the world to make it a sport for all and for life.
To find out what is in store for the ITTF Participation program in 2023, click here.
To read the Development Annual Report 2022 in detail, click here.