Thomas  Weikert

During the past 12-months we worked hard in our efforts to raise the image of table tennis worldwide. Our sport continued to be ranked in the top five by all online sports-ranking agencies.

We can anticipate further innovative ideas and initiatives to improve our sport in the future.

Social Media Platforms
Our social media platforms saw an unexpected high rate of growth in terms of outreach and engagement. Our itTV streaming service (free of charge) and new enterprises such as the “Top 10 Shots” and “Off the Table” series have also experienced tremendous growth. 

A global window for competitive table tennis was firmly established in what proved an amazing year in the international arena.

Dazzling Conclusion
The ITTF World Tour had a record number of events with all continents involved. The GAC Group 2015 World Tour Grand Finals in Lisbon was immediately preceded by a fantastic Star Awards Dinner, where the world’s leading players were acknowledged, and it brought the year to dazzling conclusion.

There were high standards in Lisbon, and it was the same at the Men’s World Cup in Halmstad and at the Women’s World Cup in Sendai; new levels of presentation were set.

Junior Players 
Meanwhile for the rising generation, the World Junior Championships in Vendée proved a fantastic tournament for young aspiring players from all around the globe. 

Such events are a source of motivation; they provide the will and the strength to face challenges and aspire to be the world number one of tomorrow. 

Likewise, the World Hopes Week in Shanghai was fantastic for young players. Advice from experts of the highest standard; it was an experience they will never forget.

The ITTF World Tour Grand Finals were held in Lisbon
The ITTF World Tour Grand Finals were held in Lisbon ©Getty Images

Agreement Reached
Equally away from the spotlight of the playing arena, there was notable progress.

This saw every Continental Federation being a signatory to the ITTF, agreements made possible thanks to the high level of co-operation for which I am grateful. The last continent to sign was the Asian Table Tennis Union; they signed at a Board of Directors Meeting in Suzhou.

Record Number
One landmark in Suzhou and there was another. At the Annual General Meeting we became the world’s biggest international Federation with 222 member associations. 

Hopefully we can integrate the few countries that have National Olympic Committees, but no National Table Tennis Association, in the near future. The impressive number shows imposingly that table tennis is a fantastic sport played all over the world; we must continue our efforts to develop the sport all over the world. 

Development Programme
Our mission must be that small and economically weaker regions receive our support via the Development Programme; the aim being that in such countries table tennis has a secure structure, a basis for growth. 

It is not only equipment that may be needed, equally, education and training is vital.  May I take this as a good opportunity to thank all the associations who have supported these projects. A special thank you goes to the Chinese Table Tennis Association for sending players and coaches all over the world to enhance the development of our common sport.

However, we must be clear, ITTF finances are limited. We depend on public funds, money from the International Olympic Committee and sponsors to continue our efforts in promoting the Development Programme. 

The ITTF can act in this area as partner, providing support, but we also need your commitment, the associations; this is for me a personal goal. We are not far away from reaching our goal to play table tennis all over the world.

World Table Tennis Day 
Notably World Table Tennis Day was held for the first time and will be held every year on April 6; the date was chosen as it is the United Nations' and International Olympic Committee’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. 

For details in multiple languages and to register go to In 2016 a joint Para Table Tennis project with United Nations Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and ITTF will be launched in Nepal in connection with World Table Tennis Day. 

Table tennis will look to build on the London 2012 Olympics in Rio this summer
Table tennis will look to build on the London 2012 Olympics in Rio this summer ©Getty Images

It was a year of many highlights but there was also sadness and concern; two of particular note.

During the Qoros 2015 World Championships, news was received of a devastating earthquake in Nepal; it shocked all, not only those from Nepal who were competing in Suzhou. High solidarity was shown from players and associations in Suzhou with donations being afforded for the Nepalese team. 

Later in the year, terrorist attacks in France meant that several countries decided not to compete in the World Junior Championships.  We cannot be ruled by terrorism, sport unifies. We must promote our social programmes and major events to help create a peaceful world.

Olympic Year
So what can we expect from the coming year? The highlight is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; it is an event we anticipate will be as successful as Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

Eyes focused on Brazil but before we travel to South America, we journey to Asia, to Kuala Lumpur, for the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships; a prestigious event in the early months of the year.

I hope that we continue to improve, making steady progress and that we continue to provide our table tennis family with high quality events. We will have a completely new website, to be more modern.

There will still be challenging times ahead, but I believe from the bottom of my heart, that with all our strength, resources, and capabilities; also by working together, using our intelligence, wisdom and experience, we will not just overcome these challenges but also thrive and have the best year yet! 

Vote of Thanks 
I look forward to fruitful meetings for the welfare of our beloved sport.

I wish our members, our officials, our volunteers, our sponsors, our professional staff and all our fans a prosperous and peaceful Olympic Year in 2016. I thank the ITTF Executive Committee, the ITTF chairman; the professional staff of ITTF and TMS for their tremendous support. 

We had yet another great year in table tennis in 2015; there's more to come in 2016.