ITTF Foundation Established to Build Solidarity Through Table Tennis
The International Table Tennis Federation's (ITTF) AGM has supported that the ITTF Foundation be officially established. The ITTF Foundation will act as the ITTF's Corporate Social Responsibility arm to take on humanitarian projects, aiming to build solidarity through table tennis.
To celebrate the creation of the Foundation, North and South Korean athletes teamed up to play an exhibition doubles match for the ITTF members to show the unifying power of sport and particularly table tennis. The day after the exhibition match, the North and South Koreans shocked the world by declaring that they would create a unified team for the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships women's team semi-final.
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT shared on the formation of the ITTF Foundation "Over the past 15 years, the ITTF has changed countless lives through our humanitarian projects within our Development department. Creating the ITTF Foundation dedicated to this cause, will allow us to do even more and make a more global difference, just like we have already done bringing North and South Korea onto one table."
The ITTF Foundation will be headed by former ITTF Development Director Leandro OLVECH, who will now take on the new role as the ITTF Foundation Director to spearhead humanitarian projects and activities under the ITTF Foundation.
On the creation of the ITTF Foundation, OLVECH stated: "I am very proud to be part of this historical moment in the ITTF. When I started working for ITTF Development over 10 years ago, social responsibility occupied around 10% of all my tasks. Over the years, the institutional and my personal commitment have grown, so that the establishment of the Foundation is not just a new project, it is the result of a process that began many years ago. I am very glad and motivated to be given the direction of this new non-profit organisation, which is much more a vocation than a mere profession. My thanks go to the ITTF and the table tennis community for the trust in this project."
2004 Olympic Champion Ryu Seungmin and African superstar Sarah Hanffou were announced the first two ITTF Foundation ambassadors and will be involved in several upcoming projects.
After the launch, the ITTF Foundation will start its first year with two new projects under its responsibility:
- ITTF Nittaku Dream Building with Refugees, focusing on the Za'atari Refugee Camp to use table tennis to promote positive individual and social change inside the Syrian Refugee community in Za'atari, increase cooperation and strengthen social cohesion through table tennis, between Syrian refugees and Jordan people.
- Bridge Program in Argentina, linking the 2018 Youth Olympic Games host city Argentina and 2020 Olympic Games host city Tokyo, leaving a positive long-term legacy in Argentina.
Other projects under the ITTF Foundation will also include the annual World Table Tennis Day on 6 April, where table tennis fans from all around the world celebrate the joy of playing table tennis. In its fourth edition, the 2018 World Table Tennis Day saw a record 569 events being held in 97 countries around the world, showing the popularity, universality and inclusiveness of table tennis.
Learn more about the ITTF Foundation by watching this video: https://youtu.be/mGdXsysJmLo