Strong Message of Peace on World Table Tennis Day
#PeaceOnTheTable was spread all over the world in the framework of World Table Tennis Day (WTTD) 2022. 25 Promoters did a fantastic job hosting events focused on resolving conflicts and making peace in communities across the five continents. Event organisers and ITTF Member Associations (MAs) showed the strength of table tennis in schools, towns, and cities, and thousands of fans following our 24-hour online stream through our different platforms.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy, many events were inspired by the power of table tennis to create dialogue, build friendships and make peace. 283 events in 89 countries and territories across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania were registered, with some of them being part of our 24-hour online stream.
Tahiti with “Happiness Through Diversity” and Fiji Islands with “Smashing Teen Rivalry” kicked off the series of ITTF Foundation’s stream. Asia was represented by “Table Tennis brings Yemen together” and later Europe’s Kosovo and North Macedonia joined to host “Two Countries and One Table”. Nigerian player Offiong Edem used table tennis to avoid conflicts in her hometown Anti-conflicts in Calabar.
American Youth Table Tennis Association sent a strong message with its event “No to Racism, Yes to Table Tennis” in United States. Lebanon and Ecuador closed the Online Stream: In Lebanon, table tennis coach Ousama Houmsi brought table tennis and hope to residents of the Palestinian refugee camp Sabra and Schattila , while Dream Building Fund recipient Fundación de las Americas fought youth delinquency, illiteracy and multidimensional violence with “Resolving Conflicts with Table Tennis” in Ecuador.
There was also time for discussion and talks with prominent table tennis players and leaders in sports. Feng Tianwei from Singapore and Darko Jorgic from Slovenia talked about their preparation for and experience at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Ryu Seungmin (ITTF Foundation Ambassador), Khalil Al-Mohannadi (Asian Table Tennis Union President) and Joël Bouzou (Peace and Sport President) joined to remember the 2011 Peace & Sport Cup. ITTF and ITTF Foundation President Petra Sörling participated in a panel about how to use sport as a tool to avoid conflicts.
During the stream, spectators also enjoyed historic matches, but the most popular event was the Meet & Greet: Houston 2021 – Table Tennis and Friends.
Chinese players Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Manyu, and US-American player Kanak Jha remembered their participation in the historic China-USA pairs at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships. Since the announcement of the Meet & Greet, our social networks were flooded with messages from fans excited to see them on their screen. More than 4,000 users registered to watch the Meet & Greet and could interact with their favourite players through Q&A. The whole broadcast obtained more than 50,000 views across the ITTF Group’s social media channels.
In Leipzig, ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton visited and played in a training of the Ukrainian deaf team, who fled from Ukraine due to war. The aim of his visit was not only to play, but to share the need of the table tennis community in Ukraine affected by war and to call for world-wide solidarity.
#PeaceOnTheTable is more needed than ever. I am glad to witness the world-wide power of table tennis to deliver sustainable social change, especially during the biennial celebration of 50 years of Ping Pong Diplomacy. On April 6, which also marks the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, table tennis is once again a very important player and the only sport offering a 24-hour online stream, which provides opportunities for all to celebrate our sport! - Steve Dainton, ITTF Group CEO.
We thank all people, who participated in World Table Tennis Day activities across the globe. We hope that the #PeaceOnTheTable message keeps spreading every time that two people join at any (table tennis) table.
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