Opening of the Samaranch Memorial in Tianjin

Tianjin – Korea, April 26, 2013: Adham Sharara, ITTF President, alongside Yang Ho Cho, the President of the Korea Table Tennis Association and Chairman of Korean Airlines, were two of the distinguished guests present at the opening of the Samaranch Memorial in the Chinese city of Tianjin on Sunday 21st April 2013.

In memory of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the ceremony took place exactly three years after the death of the former President of the International Olympic Committee.

Mr Sharara was honored to be invited to the opening of the Memorial as Juan Antonio Samaranch holds a special place in the table tennis community’s hearts; Mr Samaranch was the IOC President when table tennis was first included in the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988.

Also, Juan Antonio Samaranch was present at the Tianjin 1995 World Table Tennis Championship as a distinguished guest and most enthusiastic spectator.

ITTF President Adham Sharara stated after the opening: “It was a heart-warming experience to see so many international sports officials gathered in one place to honour the memory of Juan Antonio Samaranch. It is a great honour to be invited and be part of this special moment.”

Present at the ceremony in Tianjin were 28 members of the International Olympic Committee, including Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, and IOC Executive Board members Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior and Wu Ching-Ko from Chinese Taipei.

The late President had donated his life-long collection of Olympic memorabilia to Wu Ching-Ko, who in turn donated it to the Memorial.

Wu Ching-Ko, a life long friend of Juan Antonio Samaranch, was very pleased with Mr Sharara taking his time to attend the opening of the memorial:

“I would like to personally thank you again for coming to Tianjin and showing your support to the Samaranch Memorial. With your distinguished attendance, you have contributed to making this event memorable in so many ways. I truly believe your presence has been a source of inspiration and encouragement for the local authorities as well as the many youth involved.”

The main building consists of three circular figures, one in the shape of the number “8” to commemorate the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; the second in the shape of the letter “S”, representing the first letter of the name “Samaranch”; and the third one symbolising the infinite and the eternal.

The Memorial displays over 16,000 items from the personal collection of Juan Antonio Samaranch – books, stamps, souvenirs, paintings, letters, photographs and personal items – as well as a precious collection of texts on Olympic-related themes.

The ITTF would like to take this opportunity to thank Juan Antonio Samaranch for everything he did for the sport of table tennis and the Olympic Movement. This Memorial is a fantastic legacy for his tireless work. —- ITTF

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