Most National Associations of any Sport

Lausanne, May 16, 2014: The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) now has 220 National Associations, which is the equal most of any sport in the world.

The ITTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Tokyo, Japan earlier this month accepted Mali and US Virgin Islands to join the ITTF family, which brings the ITTF equal with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as the world’s leading sport in terms of member countries.

Reflecting on this historic achievement, ITTF’s CEO Judit Farago stated: “The ITTF membership has been increased from 180 to 220 in 15 years which is an obvious result of the successful ITTF Development Program started in 1999.”

“It makes us proud and happy that table tennis is played and has an established administration structure in almost every corner of the world. The fact that the number puts us equal with the FIVB in terms of membership among all International Federations is a bonus and a boost in our long-term objective to be in the top 5 sports in the Olympic movement.”

There is now only five associations that have a National Olympic Committee but are not yet an ITTF National Association: Guinea Bisseau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome & Principe, Eritrea and the Bahamas.

ITTF Deputy CEO, Glenn Tepper, who initiated the ITTF Development Program 15 years ago, added: “When I started the ITTF Development Program as a pilot project in Oceania in 1999, we had 180 members. One of the challenges given to me was to have table tennis played in every corner of the globe.

Since that time we have progressively added several new members each year in a sustainable way providing technical and equipment assistance to all new members. We are now very close to our initial aim. We already have contact with the 5 remaining countries and I am confident that by the time of the Opening Ceremony at the Rio Olympic Games that table tennis will be played in every corner of the globe and that every country participating in Rio will have an active table tennis program.”

From the humble beginnings in 1999 with a budget of just US$30,000 and one staff, the ITTF Development Program has grown into an award-winning program with the world’s best practise in its field, ran by 10 full-time and 100 part-time staff providing over 100 courses and 30 equipment packages annually and with a budget of over 1 million dollars. —- ITTF

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