Oleg Matytsin Elected President of International University Sports FederationPhoto: Judit FARAGO
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A former member of the European Table Tennis Union’s Youth Committee, Russia’s Oleg Matytsin was elected President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) at the General Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland on Sunday 8th November.
The 51 year old gained an overwhelming majority; he secured 102 votes as opposed to his rival, Frenchman Claude-Louis Gallien, the incumbent holder the office since 2011, who secured only 23 votes. He will hold the post for period of four years.
“I’m very proud to be elected as the new FISU President, I’m fully aware it is a great responsibility for me and my team”, said Oleg Matytsin when interviewed by Inside the Games.
“We need to establish first our tradition but at the same time we have to continue to be very modern”, he added. “Our main task is to involve as much as we can the Continental Federations and the National University Sport Federations in close co-operation with the International Sports Federations but also the international organisations such as UNESCO for instance; we have great resources and great traditions, I’m confident we will be successful.”
Table tennis is the youngest compulsory sport in the programme of the Summer Universiade but it has a long history within the FISU World University Championships, being first introduced the Romanian city of Bucharest in 1971.
Notably table tennis was continually included until 2006 in Maribor Slovenia when superseded by the Universiade; a total of 16 editions.
Established in the FISU World University Championships, in 1995 table tennis was introduced as an optional sport at the Summer Universiade in Fukuoka; the high level of play executed by the Asian teams, especially China, being a major influence.
Ten years later at the 23rd Summer Universiade in Izmir in 2005, table tennis became one of the compulsory sports and has enjoyed that status ever since; in the four most recent editions of the multi-sport gathering – Bangkok (2007), Belgrade (2009), Shenzhen (2011) and Kazan (2013) – table tennis has been acclaimed one of the most spectacular sports on offer.
An exalted position for Oleg MATYTSIN but at heart, just like Thomas WEIKERT, the ITTF President; the new FISU President is a table tennis player at heart.
Earlier this year in April at the SportAccord Convention in Sochi, Russia; Thomas WEIKERT alongside Judit FARAGO, the ITTF Chief Executive Officer, was present to meet officials of FISU.
At the time Claude-Louis GALLIEN was the FISU President and Oleg MATYTSIN, the Deputy President; the outcome was a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two organisations.
Formalities over, it was then down to serious business; FISU versus the ITTF, Oleg MATYTSIN versus Thomas WEIKERT, quite rightly the table tennis table took centre stage!