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Old 31st October 2011, 06:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Table Tennis: China's dominance of sport "unhealthy", says ITTF

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...162695/1/.html

SINGAPORE: The International Table Tennis Federation has said that China's dominance of the sport is unhealthy and measures are underway to change that.

The federation's president, Adham Sharara, made the comments at the official opening of its Marketing and Asia Pacific Headquarters in Singapore, located along Tanglin Road.

The Women's World Cup finals last Sunday at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall was again an all-China affair.

Such results are all too common in the sport and experts said it is hurting the game in a few ways - among them, declining media interest as results are predictable.

China though, has opened up its table tennis league to foreign players and that, said the federation, should eventually even out the standards.

Mr Sharara said: "A lot of the foreign players, European players, Japanese players and so on, are participating in the (Chinese) league and playing... and practising with the players and I think over next two, three years, the level will change for the European players.

"They will get more used to playing against the Chinese as well, and more chances to beat them and that would be very good for the sport. If (the Chinese) lose, it will be, from a media point of view, an enormous event."

By relocating its Marketing and Asia Pacific HQ to Singapore, the federation is looking to expand and better serve the region. It also wants to engage new partners.

Singapore's excellent location, infrastructure and systems were other deciding factors for the move, and in future, Singapore could be the International Marketing HQ for the ITTF, disclosed Mr Sharara.

The ITTF has plans to change the rules, including the image of the sport, by bringing in entertainment elements that would better connect with a younger audience.

Singapore, on the other hand, is looking to stage more international events after successfully hosting the 2011 Women's World Cup.

There are three permanent staff manning the ITTF Asia Pacific Headquarters and there are plans to hire more. The office itself is temporary as it will shift to the Singapore Sports Hub once it is up and running in three years time.

-CNA/ac

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