ITTF to Launch Table Tennis Academy in China


The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) plans to launch a "Table Tennis Academy" in China next year as part of its junior development program.

"We will start a table tennis academy at Beijing University in September 2006," ITTF president Adam Sharara told Xinhua.
In line with the ITTF's junior development program, a limited number of talented young players will be selected from the world, Africa and America in particular, and sent to train at the academy.
Table tennis has been dominated for decades by Asia and Europe while players from other continents are rarely seen in international tournaments.
Sharara, re-elected as the ITTF president a week ago, said his organization will make continued efforts to develop table tennis in the continents outside Asia and Europe.
"If table tennis is only popular in Asia, one day it will die," said the 52-year-old Canadian. "So we must keep the sport alive by developing it everywhere."
Sharara attributed the regional imbalance to the lack of chances of playing competitive games in other parts of the world.
"We need to organize 400 tournaments at the junior level, so a player can play 20 tournaments a year without having to travel all the way to other countries," said Sharara.
At present, however, there are 11 world junior circuit events every year. "So there is a long way to go," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 6, 2005)