ITTF President: Table Tennis is Healthy

ITTF President Highlights Healthy State of Table Tennis at WTTC Opening Ceremony

The growing strength of the global table tennis family was the theme of Adham Sharara’s speech at the Opening Ceremony for the 2006 LIEBHERR World Team Table Tennis Championships on Monday 24th April.

The numbers present in Bremen clearly reflect the upsurge in the sport, in terms of participating, a fact that makes the ITTF President, both a happy and proud man.

“Now two hundred national associations are members of the ITTF”, said Adham Sharara. “In Bremen over one hundred and fifty of them are present.” The facts set new records and the table tennis family is growing.

Increased Television Coverage
“Table tennis is growing not only in terms of participation but also in popularity”, the ITTF President continued. “In 1992 at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, table tennis was twenty-fourth out of twenty-six sports in terms of television coverage; in Athens in 2004 we were fifth out of twenty-eight sports!”

It is remarkable progress and Adham Sharara made a plea to those present at the Opening Ceremony. “Help by focusing your eyes on the television screen at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008!” he pleaded. “Lift table tennis into the top three!”

Surely, there is every chance with the event being hosted in China but there’s no room for complacency, pick up the remote control and tune in to the fastest racket game on planet earth.

The speeches came in the latter part of a spectacular Opening Ceremony where the mascots named `Ping’ and `Pong’ were introduced to the audience followed by local children playing table tennis on mini-sized tables, a `Fire Dance’, a formation dance team, a choir, dancers using hoops and a grand finale of dance.

Immediately prior to the grand finale, a large ball rotated into the arena with a rearranged version of `Magic Ball’ accompanying the spherical object; the song is the anthem of the 2006 LIEBHERR World Table Tennis Championships and was first played seventeen years ago, the occasion, the 40th World Championships in Dortmund, Germany.

No Worries
The schedule completed, the volunteers were quickly into action re-instating the venue as a table tennis arena but as the ceremony progressed, one of the ITTF Competition Managers on duty at the tournament, was a little concerned that there would be enough time to have the venue ready for the table tennis to recommence.

However, when the group of attractive female dancers appeared, he changed his mind, typical man did I hear the ladies say?

Anyway, no worries, the venue was ready on time!

Photo: A colourful Opening Ceremony in Bremen

Source: ITTF

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