The Chairman of the Council of World Table Tennis (WTT), Liu Guoliang believes the setting up of the council would help Africa to throw up more global super stars like Aruna Quadri as well as afford the continent the opportunity to stage one of the top events of the sport.
Speaking at the ITTF/WTTF webinar for Africa yesterday, the former Olympic and World Champion was excited with the setting up of the WTT while hoping that Africa would embrace it with more super stars emerging from the continent.
“I am so excited with the WTT initiative and I hope that this is a good development for table tennis. As a global sports, Africa is one of the continent that will ensure the success of WTT and our aim is to ensure we have more top stars like Aruna Quadri from Africa because he has shown to be among the most popular table tennis players in the world and we believe there are still many talents from the continent,” he noted.
Guoliang who is also the President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) called for more support from Africa to ensure that WTT becomes a reality with the hope that the continent would stage one of the major competitions in the WTTF.
“I could recalled that in one of the webinars we had in China recently, Aruna Quadri was part of it and one of the questions he asked was how Africa will be able to stage one of the top events in WTT while he also hoped that more Africans will compete in the WTT Grand Slam.
“Aruna Quadri raised a very vital question and we believe the fans and players are very important to the sport and that is why WTT will want to ensure that they (fans and players) benefit a lot from WTT,” Guoliang revealed.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of ITTF, Steve Dainton believes WTT would help the growth of the sport in Africa, while calling for more support from the continent.
He however, acknowledged that there were plans to invest more in Africa, particularly in development and promotion of table tennis.
“I am aware that Africa is eager to be part of WTT and with the quality of players that have emerged from the continent, it is very important for the continent to embrace WTT with the aim of growing the sport and make it more commercially viable.
With WTT, events in the continent will be organised professionally while the fans and players who are the main targets of WTT will benefit. We want to raise the profile of our players as well as give our fans something worthy for their interest in our sport,”Dainton said.
WTT is the commercial and events company of the ITTF, which will be placing players and fans at the core of all its businesses to catapult table tennis to the forefront of global sports business.