6-Day Countdown to Change in the ITTF's Presidency
Day 6, August 26 - Zoran Primorac Credits Sport for Making Him a Better Person
“From the moment I entered the hall, it was love at first sight between table tennis and me!”
How did you get involved in table tennis?
My father worked in the same company as Tomo Amizic. Many people will recognize his last name because he is the father of the well-known coach Mario Amizic. Tomo Amizic invited the children of his friends to join the table tennis school.
From the moment I entered the hall, it was love at first sight between table tennis and me!
With all of the rule changes that took place during your career, how did you find the adjustment process?
It was not an easy task! I was not pleased with so many changes, but at the same time I understood that the intention was to make table tennis a better and more attractive sport.
Some changes were very good, some less, but I consider all of them to be a step forward for our sport. It is not easy to keep pace with all other sports, so we have to adapt to be among the best.
Of course, I want to acknowledge your excellent career, punctuated by your participation in all 7 Olympic Games since table tennis became part of the Olympic program. This is an accomplishment unique to you, Jean-Michel Saive (Day 68) and Jörgen Person. Can you describe a couple of your fondest memories during the peak of your career?
The Olympic Games are a peak experience for all athletes in their careers, so winning a silver medal in Men’s Doubles with Ilija Lupulesku in Seoul in 1988 was a great and unforgettable memory.
As a flag bearer in Sydney in 2000, I was overwhelmed with pride and emotions!
Also, in Barcelona in 1992, when the Croatian team participated in the Olympics for the first time, that was the best feeling. We were so patriotic and unified, and extremely motivated to represent our country for the first time in front of the whole world!
How much longer do you expect to play professionally? In what ways have you started to build your post-competition life?
I am still practicing and competing, but not as much as before. I really enjoy playing table tennis, so I will continue as long as my body allows me.
My post-competition life has already began. I am Vice-President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, President of the Croatian Olympic Club and also a member of the ITTF Athletes Commission.
I would like to use my experience and knowledge to help young athletes in their sport careers and their life after sport.
As you look back on your long career, what are your reflections about the impact the sport has made on your life?
Sport made me a better person! I understood through sport that everything that you want to achieve is possible, but you have to work hard, be passionate and love what you do. There are no shortcuts in sport!!!
What do you think it will take for TT to be in the TOP 5 IN ALL WE DO?
Our sport is very hard and demanding. Our fans sometimes have problems understanding certain aspects of the game, especially the service and return. Maybe raising the net could help to avoid the deadly third-ball attack.
We should also work on our image around the world, especially with our top stars. We should help them to become internationally recognized.
Can you comment on the special ties you have with Adham Sharara?
I remember him when he first expressed interest in the presidency in Tianjin in 1995. He was very smart, bright and very easy to speak with. I liked his approach to the top players; he was asking our opinion about many different matters. He was a player, but he is trying to look at our sport from a neutral point-of-view to make table tennis more acceptable to different kinds of sports fans. Table tennis is too specific and complicated. Adham has understood that problem very well.
What do you think have been President Sharara's most meaningful contributions to the sport?
He was and still is a strong leader, with lots of ideas. As I mentioned before, during his presidency we witnessed many changes and he was very brave to do this in our quite conservative sport. Even though I was not pleased with some changes, I have to admit that all of them were with the strong intention and motivation to make our sport better.