04 Jun 2024

ITTF Launches New Ambassador Programme for Athletes to Champion a More Sustainable Sport Ecosystem

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is proud to unveil its “Table Tennis Planet Ambassador” programme on 5 June 2024, World Environment Day. This initiative aims to empower players committed to fostering a more sustainable sports ecosystem. 

The ITTF has appointed Adriana Diaz and Martin Perry as the first Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors. Both are professional table tennis and Para table tennis players willing to make a difference and to be more involved in sustainability efforts. 

Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors are elite athletes who demonstrate a commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability. These athletes actively work towards a more responsible lifestyle and a sustainable indoor sports ecosystem. 

Adriana Diaz, currently ranked World No. 12, is one of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated sports icons. She has achieved remarkable success at the Pan American Games and made history as the first female table tennis player to represent Puerto Rico at the Olympics in 2016. In 2019, she won the island’s first gold medals in the Pan American Games. Her exceptional achievements earned her the title of “Athlete of the Decade” in Puerto Rico in 2020. With her sisters, Adriana has launched a notebook collection designed and manufactured only with eco-friendly, alternative and sustainable materials. 

I am thrilled to be a part of this program as l strongly believe in the importance of promoting sustainability and being mindful of our impact on the world. I was fortunate to grow up on a beautiful island, rich in nature and biodiversity. As an indoor sport athlete, I know how important nature is to well-being and I want to act now, to ensure future generations can also have access to nature. I look forward to identifying some concrete actions I can support and encourage others to join. ” — Adriana Diaz 

Martin Perry is a Para table tennis player competing in class 6 representing Great Britain. He is a double European Team Champion and a World Championships bronze medallist. Perry will make his Paralympic debut at the Paris 2024 Games. Martin is also an advocate for reducing plastic waste and has been actively involved in campaigns promoting the use of reusable materials within the sports community. 

“I was unaware of the impact of climate change and the importance of living a more sustainable life until I started competing for Great Britain and was privileged to travel the world playing table tennis. It was an eye-opening experience for me as I was made aware of just how much waste we pollute and the impact it has on people’s lives, particularly in deprived countries and areas. It’s only now that I’m able to look back on my upbringing and understand the cost-effective lifestyle my parents had to live by, but now I am able to see the damage such a lifestyle and lack of available alternatives leaves not only on us as people but the environment and the world around us. I can’t for one second claim to lead the most sustainable lifestyle, who can? But what I can claim is to actively look for more sustainable solutions to my everyday actions. I am excited ITTF and table tennis are taking necessary steps and commitments to climate change and nature and look forward to playing my part and encouraging others to do the same as every action counts.” — Martin Perry

The Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors programme is designed to raise awareness of global sustainability issues and provide athletes with a platform to voice their passions and take action. The Ambassadors will receive support on their environmental sustainability journey, gaining knowledge and education about urgent environmental issues such as climate change, clean water, waste, plastic, equipment manufacturing, travel, carbon footprint, and product lifecycle. Ambassadors will identify the issue they consider a priority for action and will be accompanied in developing a project to explore and implement solutions. 

In its initial stage, the ambassador programme will soon feature more ambassadors from around the world. Any table tennis player aged 18 or above who has ranked in the top 150 over the past two years and is willing to advocate for a more sustainable future for table tennis may apply here. For some, joining the Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors programme will be a first step, while for others, it will be an opportunity to deepen their involvement in sustainability initiatives. 

“We are delighted to have Adriana Diaz and Martin Perry as our first Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors. Their commitment to this initiative will set a powerful example for athletes worldwide, and I am confident many others will follow. The ITTF is committed to the conservation of the environment and our athlete role models will hopefully inspire many in the entire table tennis community.” said Petra Sörling, ITTF President and Member of the International Olympic Committee.

The core of ITTF’s vision is to make table tennis accessible to everyone, for life and for generations to come. To achieve this, the Federation has made it its mission to put People, Planet, and Prosperity at the heart of everything it does. Sustainability in table tennis involves balancing environmental, social, and economic factors to create a healthy, equitable, and prosperous society within the table tennis community, without compromising the ability of future generations to do so.  

The ITTF is a signatory of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Sport for Climate Action Framework, and one of the founding organisations to support the Sport for Nature Framework. Its commitment to integrating sustainability into all its operations and contributing to solutions for pressing global challenges is detailed in the ITTF Sustainability Action Plan 2025, available here. 

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