Last month, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Executive Committee convened to discuss no less a weighty topic than the future of the world. The meeting, held October 20-21 in Chengdu, China, yielded several momentous results with far-reaching implications, from redesigning the governing body of international table tennis to the survival of the planet itself. The committee agreed to restructure the ITTF over the next two years. The big news is that the familiar ITTF organization will be subsumed under the more business-minded mantle of World Table Tennis. According to the ITTF, this move is designed to "modernize its commercial business activities and, ultimately, unlock the full potential of table tennis so that it can compete among the highest-profile sports in the world." Another significant structural shift will come in the form of greater involvement from continental representatives, ensuring that table tennis continues to grow in all corners of the world and not just in its traditional Eurasian power belt. Speaking of thinking globally, the committee also addressed the need for environmental sustainability. The executives approved the creation of a Sustainability Working Group, committed to "ensuring that all future events and activities fall in line with current global needs related to protecting our environment." Of course, much action needs to be taken to manifest these laudable goals. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see a global organization implementing long-term thinking, especially with regard to future generations. "Our Executive Committee meeting was an historic one, as the ITTF approved the structure of World Table Tennis, which will bring much-needed funds into table tennis and allow us to make significant strides forward with our products," said ITTF President Thomas Weikert. "In addition," he continued, "we made good progress with our governance review as well as making the decision to be much more vigilant as regards making the sport of table tennis more sustainable." The ITTF (as it is, at least for the moment, still known), promises to provide more details on these visionary plans in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
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