What a treat to visit Tokyo again. This will be my fourth time since 2009 . The 2014 WTTC will be my eighteenth World championships since my first stumbling steps in the international courts of Table Tennis 1989 in Dortmund, Germany. The only two festivities that I missed since then were in Manchester 1997 and Doha 2004.
As the coach for the Danish National Team I worked the floor between Dortmund and Tianjin 1995 and then made a comeback as a young – but eager ITTF employee in Eindhoven 1998. My first assignment I remember very well. It was not really an easy one – I had to push the new 40 mm ball both internally (hosted a famous dinner with the ITTF Equipment committee …;-) and externally with National Associations. I even have a vague memory of reaching all the way to the AGM podium with a speech of some sort promoting change and the need of thinking out of the box.
Well folks – here I am attending what very well could be my last World Table Tennis championship as an ITTF professional staff. The thinking out of the box and the drive and motivation to see change is still with me. Over the years I hope I have stayed true to my qualities and vision to work for the development of our sport. I had my chances and also my moments – it has been a good time – a privileged time to do all this –to experience the wonderful world of international table tennis. The wheels never stop turning – challenges come and challenges go – everything created from what I call the nature of the beast; The world political will.
Our jobs – as staff is to pump the tires as much as we can, always important to promote your own area of expertise as the most important thing there is – because if you happen to lose your portfolio – your role comes into question. We should also try to add doses of reality to mix of the better half of the politically generated ideas that always will and must appear to move our sport forward. It is also here at the world championships when we meet our membership that we need to pin our ears to the ground and listen – not always talk. That’s the trick not to be forgotten actually. We need to stay in touch with the reality and make sure that our programmes do make sense.
Lately – I have feeling that we somehow have hit the one way road a little bit too often. We say and you do kind of thing. Lots of good things are happening – don’t get me wrong and we are also lucky to have a group of staff in the ITTF working for the rights reasons.. But then again when the political waters get murky – it is not easy to find the right directions. It just takes small things and we are swimming in circles , instead of making the healthy laps count .
The truth is that the reality is in front of our eyes – right here at the world championships. This is us – the players the coaches performing doing their very best to showcase the depth of our sport . As a sport we can only grow stronger and better if players can play and coaches can coach. So colleagues – friends and foes; Study and Learn . As far as I know , 1+1 still equals two .