The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Senior Vice President, Mr Anil Khanna, together with the Advisor of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), Mr Dhanraj Choudhary, welcomed the ITTF Executive Committee members to Delhi in order to discuss the progress of table tennis in India and worldwide.
“The ITTF Executive Committee is pleased to be present in India, for the first time in many years. The Table Tennis Federation of India is putting a lot of effort towards the future development of the sport and we appreciate the remarkable performances and success of the Indian players at international level. The ITTF is looking forward to seeing more international table tennis events in India!” – Thomas Weikert, ITTF President.
The Executive Committee reflected on a highly successful 2019, which saw table tennis continue to grow to new heights, and discussed the strategy for the continued growth of the sport, making the following key decisions:
1. Implement Table Tennis Review (TTR) technology at major ITTF events and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This follows the successful introduction of TTR at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, in which players left positive feedback about the opportunity to use technology to review the original decisions of umpires.
Therefore, the ITTF Executive Committee has agreed to implement TTR at major ITTF events in 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while constantly working to deliver the best possible product, such as reducing the time spent between the player’s call to review and the final decision.
“With the tech trend already so prominent in sports, we felt it was important to implement a new technology that will ensure a fair competition for all the athletes, empowering them to challenge any decision made by the umpire. The benefits of using the TTR system are very positive and we can actually talk about an evolution of the sport of table tennis. We received very positive feedback from the players and we anticipate a major improvement in terms of the viewers’ experience going forwards.” – Steve Dainton, ITTF CEO
2. Enable multiple host cities at future World Team Table Tennis Championships events.
The ITTF is in discussions with the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) about staging the 2022 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals – the first under the new format – across multiple cities in China.
This will enable greater TV coverage of more matches during the competition, as well as increased fan engagement over multiple host cities across the country, as has been witnessed in other major sports events, such as the FIFA and FIBA World Cups.
“The philosophy of the new expanded World Table Tennis Championships Finals has always been focused on increasing the global footprint of our sport’s biggest event. This is a format that will eventually integrate all our members and maximise exposure of the event.
“By providing relevant content in multiple locations and engaging with a larger community / audience in the host country, the 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals have a higher potential to ensure worldwide media coverage and achieve commercial success.
“Due to the popularity of the sport, we believe that China is the ideal place to implement this new concept. Discussions have already been initiated with CTTA and they seem very positive.” – Steve Dainton, ITTF CEO
3. To put forward to the AGM to hold an extraordinary general meeting towards the end of 2020 in order to vote on the future ‘Home of Table Tennis’ and Good Governance review.
The extraordinary general meeting would allow for national associations to vote on matters, which require their input as per the ITTF Constitution, at the most appropriate time, avoiding inevitable delays by waiting until the AGM of the following year.
For the ‘Home of Table Tennis’ the ITTF is seeking interest from cities around the world to become the future Headquarters in order to centralise the ITTF’s workforce and drive the growth of table tennis.
Meanwhile, the Good Governance review is aimed at aligning the ITTF Constitution with the modern standards upheld by other well-established international federations.
“The ITTF has done a lot to be compliant with Good Governance regulations. In order to fulfil all the written and non-written criteria, it is always necessary to continuously work on these rules for the benefit of our clean sport.” – Thomas Weikert, ITTF President
4. World Table Tennis (WTT) update
The Executive Committee was updated on the significant progress made regarding World Table Tennis – the entity that will run the ITTF’s commercial business in the future.
The WTT event structure, branding and vision for the sport are close to being finalised and due to be released before the 2020 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships in March.
5. To circulate to the member associations a call for candidates for the Sustainability Working Group.
Following the establishment of the Sustainability Working Group and the appointment of Mrs Petra Sörling as Chair at the last Executive Committee meeting, the ITTF intends to make a call for applications for membership through the national associations, in order to identify suitable profiles.
6. ITTF Professional Staff Drive
To continue the professionalism of all ITTF activities, the ITTF will be opening several new staff positions, including integrity and administration.
The next ITTF Executive Committee meeting will be held on 21st March in Busan (KOR), during the 2020 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships.