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Table Tennis: Shahara shows big ambition after taking on new ITTF role

Thomas Weikert will succeed Adham Shahara as ITTF President on September 1, when the Canadian takes on a newly created role of Chairman, vowing to make table tennis one of “the top five sports in the world”. Photo: Remy Gros / ITTF.

May 1, 2014: Adham Shahara, the current President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), vowed to make table tennis one of the world’s top five sports after being elected to the newly created position of Chairman at the ITTF Annual General Meeting in Tokyo.

 

After 80 per cent of the delegates voted in favour of creating this position, Shahara was voted as the first ever ‘Chairman’ with 90 per cent of the votes. The position is an independent and non-political position without any voting or decision-making power.

 

Shahara, 60, will chair the ITTF AGM each year. 

The new position comes into effect on September 1, at which time the Canadian will retire as President, a position he has held for the past 15 years.

 

“I am very happy with the outcome,” Shahara said. “This new position is very well suited to me at this stage and I will have the time to contribute efficiently in special focus areas needed for the further development of the ITTF. The new plan is designed to move table tennis into the top five sports in the world.”

 

German Thomas Weikert, Deputy President of the ITTF, will succeed Shahara as President on September 1.

 

“I am honoured to be the next ITTF President,” said Weikert, who’s also President of the German Table Tennis Association. “I have very big shoes to fill, as Adham has done a fantastic job growing the sport over the past 15 years. However, I am excited about the challenge and I am looking forward to building on the good work Adham has achieved in his Presidency.”

 

Shahara, President since 1999, has overseen major changes designed to make the ITTF more commercially viable and attractive to TV audiences, including changing the games from ‘first to 21 points’ to ‘first to 11 points’ and increasing the size of the ball from 38mm to 40mm.

 

Other changes during his reign have included the ITTF moving up the Olympic funding table after London 2012, major events being broadcasted live in 110 countries and ITTF having the third highest number of social media followers among all Olympic international federations.

 

The ITTF currently holding over 75 events a year in all corners of the globe and has 220 National Associations, the joint highest of any international federation and second highest of any sport on the planet.

 

Source: ITTF

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