Sweden’s Petra Sörling is set to become ITTF President after she was revealed as the only candidate for the election in Houston on November 24 ©Svenska Bordtennisfoerbundet

Sweden’s Petra Sörling is poised to become International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) President after being confirmed as the sole candidate for the position at the organisation’s Annual General Assembly (AGM) in November.

Sörling announced her candidacy in April, with the ITTF executive vice-president of finance vowing to "unite the organisation" if she were elected.

She had been due to challenge incumbent Thomas Weikert.

The German official announced last month that he had decided not to seek re-election, asserting that he does not agree with "the course that the ITTF and World Table Tennis are taking".

The ITTF Executive Committee had told Weikert in March he had lost its "trust, confidence and support" and resolved to take all decisions on a majority basis until the AGM.

Sörling has played a leading role in the ITTF's recent governance disputes, writing a joint letter with Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi in May 2020 that criticised Weikert.

Al-Mohannadi and Sörling denounced Weikert for a "lack of strategical and constructive initiatives... to safeguard the ITTF from a structural and financial point of view in these difficult times".

Weikert had attempted to remove Al-Mohannadi from the Deputy President post in February of this year, only for the Executive Committee to reinstate the Qatari official.

Weikert was elected ITTF President in 2017 for a four-year term but had been in the role since 2014 after replacing Canadian Adham Sharara.

Sörling has served on the ITTF Executive Committee since 2009 and is into her third term as executive vice-president of finance.

Sörling has been Swedish Table Tennis Association (STTA) chair since 2013, while outside table tennis she has been the chief executive of a leading real estate company.

She would become the first woman to serve as President if her election is confirmed.

Thomas Weikert, left, announced last month he would not stand for another term as President of the ITTF after facing public criticism from his colleagues ©Getty Images
Thomas Weikert, left, announced last month he would not stand for another term as President of the ITTF after facing public criticism from his colleagues ©Getty Images

Sörling would become the third female head of a Summer Olympic International Federation, joining World Triathlon’s Marisol Casado and the International Golf Federation’s Annika Sörenstam.

She would also become the second Swede to be elected this year to lead an Olympic Federation.

In June, billionaire Johan Eliasch won an election to succeed Switzerland's Gian-Franco Kasper as President of the International Ski Federation.

The ITTF has confirmed 17 candidates have been nominated for executive vice-president positions in the organisation.

Al-Mohannadi, Japan’s Masahiro Maehara, Egypt’s Alaa Meshref and Argentina’s Nestor Tenca are each seeking to be re-elected.

European Table Tennis Union President Igor Levitin of Russia, Australia’s Graham Symons, Brazil’s Alaor Azevedo, China’s Liu Guoliang and France’s Michael Gadal are also contenders.

Hong Kong’s Tony Yue, Hungary’s Roland Natran, Iran’s Behnam Habibzadehmomen, Saint Lucia’s Teddy Matthews, Nigeria’s Wahid Oshodi, New Zealand’s Paul Kyle, United Arab Emirates’ Dawoud Alhajri and United States’ Virginia Sung complete the list of candidates.

Sung is the only woman standing for a place as an ITTF executive vice-president.

Croatia’s Zoran Primoarac and Seungmin Ryu remain on the Executive Committee due to their positions as Athletes’ Commission chair and as an International Olympic Committee member, respectively.

A total of 35 nominations have been made for the ITTF board of director positions, with 32 set to be confirmed at the AGM.

The AGM is scheduled to take place on November 24 in Houston.

The event will be held alongside the World Table Tennis Championships, which will run from November 23 to 29.

The full list of candidates can be accessed here.