Lausanne, Sept 01, 2014: Today is a historic day in the history of the International Table Tennis, with the current President Adham SHARARA (CAN) moving into his new role as ITTF Chairman and current Deputy President Thomas WEIKERT (GER) becoming the 7th ITTF President.
Adham SHARARA who has been the ITTF President since 1999 stated:
“I am very happy that the ITTF will now step into a new phase of its development. I hand over the ITTF reigns to Thomas WEIKERT today and provide him my full support. Thomas is the head of a large and important national association and his experience in that capacity will be very important for the further development of the ITTF and its members associations. Thomas has the necessary energy and motivation to take the ITTF to the next level and we will all support his efforts as an ITTF family.”
Today Mr Weikert becomes the 7th President of the ITTF since its creation in 1926.
The current German Table Tennis Association President follows Ivor Montagu of England (Chairman 1926-1937, President 1937-1967); H. Roy Evans of Wales (1967-1987); Ichiro Ogimura of Japan (1987-1994), Lollo Hammarlund of Sweden (1994-1995), Xu Yinsheng of China (1995-1999) and Adham Sharara of Canada (1999-2014).
On succeeding Mr SHARARA, the new ITTF President stated:
“Firstly, I would like to give a huge thank you to Adham SHARARA. During his 15 years as ITTF President, he has taken the sport forward in leaps and bounds and everyone involved in table tennis will forever be in his debt.
“During my time as ITTF President, I would like to continue the growth of the sport and fulfill the ITTF’s goal of becoming a top 5 sport. I am hoping for a big support from the ITTF family to achieve this goal.
“Although I am German, I am no German President, but a President for everyone
“Development of smaller associations is a matter that is near to my heart. One of my aims is to expand the already well-functioning ITTF Development Programme. I want our sport to be played in as many countries by as many people as possible. Table Tennis should not only serve as a form for physical and mental training, but also be a unifying element.”
Adham SHARARA will still be deeply involved in the ITTF in the position of the ITTF Chairman. This position was created at the 2014 ITTF AGM and is an independent and non-political position without any voting or decision-making power.
The ITTF Chairman’s main function is to chair the ITTF AGM each year, as well as specific projects assigned by the ITTF Executive Board which are:
• Review the Constitution
• Present and propose the new P5 long-term plan to the EC
• Focus on Marketing
To fill the vacated position of Mr SHARARA on the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors elected Mr Bruce Burton (Canada) as Executive Vice president effective 1 September 2014. Therefore, the complete 9-member EC, until the next elections in 2017, is now: Thomas Weikert (President), Khalid Al-Mohannadi (Deputy President) and Bruce Burton, Cherif Hajem, Patrick Gillmann, Masahiro Maehara, Melecio Rivera, Shi Zhihao and Petra Sorling, as Executive Vice Presidents.
During Mr SHARARA’s 15 years as ITTF President, he has overseen major changes designed to make the ITTF more commercially viable and attractive to TV audiences.
This included changing the games from “first to 21 points” to “first to 11 points”, and increasing the size of the ball from 38mm to 40mm, just to name a few.
Mr SHARARA is leaving the ITTF in good health, after being in charge since 1999. The ITTF’s growth under Mr SHARARA includes:
• ITTF moving up the Olympic funding table after London 2012.
• ITTF’s major events being broadcasted live in 110 countries.
• ITTF having the third highest number of social media followers among all Olympic international federations.
• ITTF currently holding over 75 events a year in all corners of the globe.
• ITTF having 220 National Associations , which is the equal highest of any International Federation second highest of any sport on the planet. —- Photo credit: Remy Gros