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About the ITTF – Official association of world table tennis

As a competitive player, you need to follow the rules and regulations of ITTF. The role of ITTF in table tennis is very important. It’s important not only for the professional players but also the coaches. So what is the role of ITTF in table tennis?

History of ITTF

With nine founding members, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was created in 1926 by William Henry Lawes from Wymondham, who was also the chairman of the International Table Tennis Federation. In Berlin in January 1926, the first international competition was organized by ITTF. It’s the first World Table Tennis Championships that were staged in London in December 1926.

ITTF logo and slogan
ITTF logo and slogan

The slogan of ITTF is “Table Tennis for All. For Life”.

Since the foundation of ITTF, there are several changes. The current president of ITTF is Petra Sörling. She is also the president of the Swedish table tennis association and at the same time the vice president of ITTF for finance. Here is the list of all ITTF presidents:

In 2017, Thomas Weikert and Petra Sörling in the ITTF annual meeting
In 2017, Thomas Weikert and Petra Sörling in the ITTF annual meeting

The German lawyer Weikert Thomas, the current president of the ITTF on the eve of August 26, announced through the German media that he had decided not to apply for the position.

“The main reason is that I disagree with some of the decisions of the executive committee and the course is taken by the ITTF and World Table Tennis (WTT)”, Weikert confirmed.

Here is the video about the candidate of the new ITTF president:

 

All ITTF Presidents

  • 1. Ivor Montagu, England (1926-1967)
  • 2. H. Roy Evans, Wales (1967-1987)
  • 3. Ichiro Ogimura, Japan (1987-1994)
  • 4. Lollo Hammarlund, Sweden (1994-1995)
  • 5. Xu Yinsheng, China (1995-1999)
  • 6. Adham Sharara, Canada (August 1999 to 2017)
  • 7. Thomas Weikert, Germany (2017 to 2021)
  • 8. Petra Sörling, Sweden (2021 – Now)

Here is the photo of all ITTF presidents. There are 8 ITTF presidents:



Ivor Montagu
Ivor Montagu

Ivor Montagu of England was the Founding President of the ITTF, serving from 1926 to 1967. Montagu was inducted into the ITTF Hall of Fame in 1995.

 

Roy Evans
Roy Evans

H.Roy Evans of Wales served as ITTF President from 1967 to 1987. He was the driving force behind the ITTF becoming an Olympic sport. Evans was inducted into the ITTF Hall of Fame in 1997.

 

Ichiro Ogimura
Ichiro Ogimura

Ichiro Ogimura of Japan, World Singles Champion in 1954 and 1956, served as ITTF President from 1987 until his untimely death in 1994. He was inducted into the ITTF Hall of Fame in 1997.

 

Lollo Hammarlund
Lollo Hammarlund

Lollo Hammarlund of Sweden served as ITTF President from 1994 until his death in 1995. He was coach of the Swedish team from 1958 to 1970, & was known as a fair & resourceful leader.

 

Xu Yinsheng
Xu Yinsheng

Xu Yinsheng of China served as ITTF President from 1995 to 1999. Xu was a key player on the Chinese team which won the 26th, 27th & 28th World Team Championships, and was 1965 World Doubles Champion. Xu proposed the use of a 40mm ball instead of a 38mm ball.

 

Adham Sharara
Adham Sharara

Adham Sharara of Canada has served as ITTF President from 1999 to the present time. Under his leadership, the 40mm ball and 11-point games helped to improve the image of the sport on television

 

In 2017, Thomas Weikert and Petra Sörling in the ITTF annual meeting
In 2017, Thomas Weikert and Petra Sörling in the ITTF annual meeting

Petra Sörling is currently the ITTF’s president. Thomas Weikert was the previous ITTF president.

How does ITTF organize?

Every year, the International Table Tennis Federation holds its annual general meeting (AGM). Votes are used to decide on amendments to the constitution, the rules of table tennis, and applications for membership. AGMs are also used to elect the president of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), eight executive vice-presidents, and 32 or fewer continental representatives. President, executive vice-presidents, and athletes’ commission chairman make up the executive committee.

ITTF annual meeting
ITTF annual meeting

The role of ITTF

All national table tennis organizations are governed by the ITTF, the world’s largest table tennis federation. The ITTF’s responsibilities include enforcing rules and regulations and looking for ways to improve table tennis’s technological capabilities. For more than a century already, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has organized the World Table Tennis Championships. ITTF also cooperate with IOC to organize the table tennis events at the Summer Olympics.

Over 30 million competitive players and 226 member associations are represented by the ITTF, which also serves as the sport’s governing body and foundation. It also aims to promote and use table tennis for the objectives of development and peace, where the passion for table tennis connects competition and excellence with social duty and leisure.

A non-profit foundation called the “ITTF Foundation” was established by the ITTF’s Annual General Assembly on May 1, 2018, in Halmstad, Sweden, in order to continue the organization’s long-standing, globally applied solidary commitment.

ITTF organized the World Table Tennis events
ITTF organized the World Table Tennis events

The main role of ITTF is to organize the official table tennis competitions. Another role of ITTF is to maintain the official world table tennis ranking. ITTF also made some important changes that heavily affect the sport.

Most important changes made by ITTF

A ban on the use of speed glue

Speed glue is toxic for players’ health. The ITTF board of directors voted in 2007 to use the VOC-free glue regulation at Junior tournaments as a transitional period until the complete introduction of the VOC ban on September 1, 2008.

11 points system

In 2001, the scoring point system for table tennis was decreased from 21 to 11 points. In an effort to raise the average length of rallies and to decrease the server’s advantage. Today, the rules of the game are constantly changing in order to keep the interest of television viewers high.

Bigger ball

As of the end of the year 2000, the ITTF has made various rule modifications in an attempt to make table tennis a more attractive option for broadcasting. The former 38 mm balls have been officially replaced by 40+ mm ones. This slowed down the game by increasing the ball’s air resistance.

However, the new ball also makes the new trend of table tennis, which forces the player to increase the power’s strength, or they need to stay closer to the table. The new ball is one of the main issues of the injury and the early retirement in table tennis.

Xu Xin - is awarded during the ITTF voting system
Xu Xin – is awarded during the ITTF voting system

No more imported Chinese player

There are so many Chinese players who are playing for foreign countries. Following an ITTF Executive Meeting in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China on February 29th, 2008, the ITTF announced a number of regulation modifications regarding a player’s ability to play for a new country.

Associations will now be encouraged to produce their own players as a result of the new rule. To compete in World Title tournaments, a player’s new association must be registered with ITTF and the player must be under the age of 21.

ITTF Star Awards - the official awards to honours the table tennis coaches and players
ITTF Star Awards – the official awards to honors the table tennis coaches and players

The formation of WTT

What is the rebrand of WTT? Recently, ITTF is rebranded as WTT (World Table Tennis). But what is the purpose of this move?

WTT formation with the new partners
WTT formation with the new partners

During Thomas Weikert’s leadership, the World Table Tennis Organization (WTT) was established in 2020. Liu Guoliang, a three-time world champion, served as the team’s leader. Originally, the WTT was envisioned as an ITTF subsidiary that would aid in the organization of large-scale championships. Representatives from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two countries where a significant amount of oil is produced, took an active role in the new organization’s activities.

Liu Guoliang is elected as ITTF Vice President
Liu Guoliang is elected as ITTF Vice President

Almost all professional foreign tours were organized under the aegis of WTT once it was founded. Nearly every type of table tennis player could be found within the new crop of “WTT Contenders” (from youth to top-level pros). The tournaments alternate across continents, giving local table tennis players more chances to compete. Several brand-new tournaments (like WTT Contenders, WTT Grand Smash, etc..) have a respectable prize fund.

It’s unclear if Liu Guoliang genuinely cares about the growth of table tennis outside of China or if he’s just looking out for himself. If only those “secret advisers to the WTT leader” whose identities remain a mystery may be identified. So far, it’s become evident that the rest of the world is approaching close to the top Chinese players. So the European players and the Chinese players consistently take home the bulk of the WTT prize money. It could be a good sign for the development of table tennis.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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