26 Apr 2024

The ITTF has released its selection for athlete support incentives available within the Sports Development framework. Athletes can benefit from With The Future In Mind scholarships run in cooperation with the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity, Continental Youth Grants and Para TT Athlete Grants.

The With The Future In Mind program has been a core component of the Athlete Development model, targeting prospects from all over the world in the pursuit of their Olympic dream and the goal to globalize competitiveness by creating and supporting additional training and competition opportunities for the supported athletes. In 2024, the program is again targeting athletes from all continents in cooperation with Olympic Solidarity.

With The Future In Mind scholarship holder Hana Goda (EGY)

The scholarship program continues to support long-time beneficiaries, one of which is Hana Goda from Egypt, who has won the African Championships, the ITTF Africa Cup, and a mixed doubles Youth World Championships while supported by the program. Nicholas Lum from Australia, winner of the ITTF Oceania Cup and semi-finalist at both the senior and youth ITTF Oceania Championships has also been part of the program for several years.

With The Future In Mind scholarship holder Nicholas Lum (AUS)

U15 European Champion Tiago Abiodun from Portugal, and 2023 ITTF World Hopes Challenge winner Kulapassr Vijitviriyagul from Thailand have also had their scholarships renewed, while 13 new recipients will benefit from the program this year.

With The Future In Mind scholarship holder Kulapassr Vijitviriyagul (THA)

The new selection focused on the U15 age group, especially Kulapassr’s contemporaries, former World Hopes players, including European U13 Champion Danilo Faso from Italy. Besides the financial support, beneficiaries will be offered the chance to participate in select training opportunities connected to the WTT Youth Series, the first of those being the Rising Stars Training Camp to be held in Halmstad (SWE) before the WTT Youth Contender Helsingborg.

In addition to the high performance focused global WFIM scholarships, Continental Youth Grants and Para TT Athlete Grants are integral parts of ITTF’s strategy to support emerging talent and ensure inclusivity within the table tennis community.

The application-based Continental Youth Grants, offered within the framework of the Master Continental Agreements, recognize young athletes who have demonstrated exceptional skill and commitment on the international stage and whose Member Associations have shown to have a solid planning for the support offered.

Players like Tania Morice from Algeria, Sally Moyland from the USA, Giulia Takahashi from Brazil, and Won Bae from Australia have been selected for their notable achievements, including victories at events such as the WTT Youth Contender Tunis (Morice), the ITTF Pan Am Youth Championships (Moyland) and the Oceania Youth Championships (Bae), and in Giulia’s case qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with the Brazilian team. Benyamin Faraji from Iran has had his Continental Youth Grant renewed due to a fantastic run in 2023, where he saw his world ranking rise from 147 to 15 on the U19 boys ranking at 15 years of age – as well as holding the number one spot in his own age group. Former Hopes player Hanka Kodetova from Czechia among other impressive results clinched the U15 girls’ singles title at the European Youth Championships last year, securing a grant for 2024. These grants underscore ITTF’s commitment to supporting promising talents on all continents, equipping selected athletes to take advantage of additional training and competition opportunities.

Para TT Athlete Grant holder Allana Maschio (BRA)

Similarly, the PTT Athlete Grants exemplify ITTF’s dedication to promoting Para table tennis and supporting its athletes by creating opportunities for athletes to excel further. In 2024, selection was based on successful or projected qualification to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, taking into consideration previous results, qualification status, and age group. Amongst those having been successful in renewing his grant is Samuel Altshuler, a Class 6 athlete who achieved his career-best ranking of 38 at only 15 years of age while benefiting from a Para TT Athlete Grant in 2023. Youth players have been successful in securing 5 of the 18 grants on offer, with Brazilians Lucas Carvalhal Arabian and Allana Maschio leading the charge amongst them with a silver and bronze medal respectively at the 2023 Para Pan American Games. Established players like previous grant holder Yousef Sayed from Egypt and Faith Obazuaye from Nigeria have achieved success at events like the African Para Continental Championships and the Egypt Para Open, and have successfully qualified for Paris, boosting their pre-Games preparation with their grant.

Para TT Athlete Grant holder Youssef Sayed (EGY)

“To develop athletes globally, our athlete support opportunities focus on fostering excellence and accessibility. Through initiatives like the With The Future In Mind scholarships, Continental Youth Grants, and PTT Athlete Grants, we are investing in the development of future table tennis stars while championing values of diversity and inclusion.” Mikael Andersson, Sports Development Director

In total, ITTF’s Sport Development programs and projects will be supporting 79 athletes from 47 Member Associations across the globe*.

*Subject to final confirmation by MAs/NOCs

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