2023! We on the ITTF Group are genuinely thrilled about this new yr! We consider a really thrilling interval is upon us and that it is going to be the busiest yr we’ve got ever seen.
In 2020 – it looks like a lifetime in the past – I wrote in regards to the want for us to arrange for when the pandemic could be over, that the sports activities industries would should be prepared for the brand new regular of life after. My key level, though it was a fairly provocative message at the moment, was that we should always have a look at the “silver lining” of the state of affairs.
Not too long ago, China roughly took away its ultimate restrictions, permitting journey flows in and in a foreign country to be much less restrictive. A major information for desk tennis as it’s by far our greatest market.
So, are we on the finish of the pandemic now, and the way are we positioned? Are we prepared for 2023? I consider we’re. Our complete efforts, each previous to and all through the pandemic, will allow us to capitalize on our exhausting work.
With the brand new Govt Board’s clear strategic course, the group on the ITTF Group has an outlined path to comply with within the upcoming months. It can permit us to make significant progress in the direction of our targets, positioning us for achievement.
Firstly, persevering with our work to professionalise the occasions for the athletes and the followers. We didn’t cease in our pursuit or perception within the new platform World Desk Tennis. This evolution was a basic want of the game for years main as much as the pandemic and while it slowed us down, and while some requested us to rethink and even hand over, we didn’t.
We fought by means of the pandemic and politics to start out in 2021 with roughly 20% of deliberate exercise. In 2022, with solely 40% of exercise, we broke all business income information. That is proof that the daring, bold plans we had through World Desk Tennis is the best manner.
In 2023, we might be near 75% of a full World Desk Tennis Calendar and we’re very assured for a full calendar in 2024. Pushing by means of the pandemic was tremendous vital in order that, now it ends, we’re prepared to completely capitalize. This makes us very buoyant in regards to the new yr.
In reality, I count on nearly all of all of the actions of the ITTF Group to be absolutely again in 2023.
Improvement programmes which have been principally performed behind screens in recent times will now be reshaped, rebranded and again to the sector. The ITTF Basis can even largely have the ability to return to extra bodily actions. Higher, our learnings of the usage of expertise through the pandemic years will have the ability to make sure that our actions contact much more individuals and Member Associations than previously.
The qualification system for our World Championships will have the ability to be prioritised once more – lastly. On the latest Annual Common Assembly, a number of associations confirmed their frustration that they have been unable to play on the World Championships. Our purpose ought to be to have all 227 Member Associations collaborating within the World Championships in some form or type. This was at all times the purpose with the reforms made in 2018 for the primary version to start out in 2021. Now that the pandemic is behind us, the elected officers and the employees can put the eye again to this idea once more.
TTX will begin to make a comeback in 2023. Some international locations like Italy and Uganda already embraced the idea and fell in love with it. With a extra coordinated effort, an occasion calendar, a platform to be rolled out, and as individuals begin to collect once more, the timing is ripe.
One other frontier might be to professionalise our Para and Veteran actions and make the adjustments wanted in these areas to allow them to additionally get a enterprise mannequin behind their occasions. I’m positive right here, with the learnings of World Desk Tennis, that it’ll not be so troublesome to adapt, innovate, and comply with within the footsteps.
The ITTF Summit will return, at this stage touted for the tip of August. After a profitable first version in 2022 plans are already in place to make the following model much more partaking, bigger and with extra involvement of extra stakeholders. A improbable new asset added to the rising suite of choices from the ITTF.
And what different improvements can we sit up for sooner or later? With the re-opening of the “House of Desk Tennis” course of, it’s a nice likelihood for us to now convey again just a few key initiatives.
Academies to develop future stars in our sport might be essential for the general growth of the sport however much more essential for World Desk Tennis to develop. That is most evident within the Ladies’s aspect of the game, now dominated by two international locations, which we have to have a look at desperately. An important venture for our Excessive Efficiency initiatives inside our sport and the brand new Athletes Fee representatives.
One other space that the brand new strategy of House of Desk Tennis will permit us to develop along with Academies might be associated to the technical growth of the game. By way of a laboratory, we’ll want a way more holistic strategy than ever earlier than to hyperlink the function of desk tennis tools, the foundations of the game, and the way this impacts the gamers and their performances. By no means earlier than have we linked these essential components in our research about our sport’s future – now we should in order that any rule adjustments take all components under consideration.
Because the world emerges from the pandemic and transitions to the brand new regular, it could be an opportune time for the ITTF to re-evaluate its partnerships and place itself for long-term success. Different world governing our bodies have recognised the advantages of a completely built-in organisation, and the ITTF ought to make sure that its personal construction doesn’t result in a number of our bodies with comparable pursuits competing for a similar assets.
As I mentioned, 2023 might be busy. But additionally tremendous thrilling; with initiatives placed on maintain coming again and new initiatives we’ll begin from scratch.
This may require a powerful understanding that while we nonetheless grew our human assets previously years, it was with a prudent strategy. Whereas we will definitely proceed affected by a Covid hangover and the struggle in Ukraine, we have to develop at a sooner velocity in 2023 to handle the elevated exercise.
Along with the brand new management, a brand new grasp plan might be drawn out over the approaching months to make sure the long-term well being of our sport post-pandemic. With improved alignment, continued assist from our elected officers and nonetheless a variety of exhausting work, our sport will as soon as once more make big steps ahead to meet up with different main sports activities.
The silver lining from just a few years again can now be achieved. The yr 2023 – and 2024 – is the time to show that, and we’ll present our sport has gone up many ranges.
ITTF Group CEO