30-Day Countdown to Change in the ITTF's Presidency

By Sheri Cioroslan | Aug. 02, 2014, 9 a.m. (ET)

Day 30, August 2 - Commonwealth Chair Alan Ransome Expresses Praise for ITTF

“Great progress has been made, particularly with the P4 plan.”

Alan RansomeAlan Ransome, Chairman of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation Limited, found some spare time during the Commonwealth Games currently running in Glasgow, Scotland, where he is representing the ITTF, to participate in the Countdown series.

When and how did you get involved in the ITTF?

As a player in the 1960’s, including participating in the World Championships for England in 1971 in Nagoya, Japan. 

From an administrative point of view, from 1989 as the English TTA delegate to the ITTF’s BGM and then as member of the Board of Directors for around 14 years.  I have been the Commonwealth TTF Chairman from 1993 to the present.

Since you became involved in the ITTF, what positive changes have you seen?

A)    More member associations

B)    Entry into the Olympics from 1988

C)    Growth of the Para and Veterans sections

Plus as listed below.

Looking back at the fifteen years of Adham Sharara’s presidency, what are your thoughts?

Great progress has been made, particularly with the P4 plan as follows:

Development: Major worldwide development programme helping many nations including ITTF coaching qualifications and equipment support programme.

Marketing:  Excellent website and the development of the itTV television channel which covers most of the major events. 

Competitions: World Championships every year, senior events including extensive Pro Tour, Junior programme with many tournaments, improved umpires and referees programme, development of the ranking list system.

Administration: Strong staff structure with quality dedicated personnel.

Olympics: Major improvements, including presentation and television coverage.

Finance: Much stronger balance sheet and less dependence on IOC support.

Thank you, Alan.  I really appreciate that you took the time during what must be a 24/7 time commitment on your part to contribute to the Countdown.

Having a little extra space to work with, I took the liberty to ask President Sharara about the friendship between the two of you.  Below is his response.

Thank you, Sheri, for asking me about my friendship with Alan.

I have known Alan for almost 40 years, and I know that he is, without a doubt, one of the table tennis lovers who cares about our sport more than anyone else. Alan has always expressed to me his ideas and concerns, as well as provided great advice during all of my time with the ITTF, and even before that: advising me about Canadian table tennis. I took many players to Alan's club in Teeside for training many years ago. (I even once took American Jimmy Butler.)

So, when Alan talks, I listen. Recently, in Dubai, we had conversations about the future of the ITTF. Everything he said to me about the future means that he cares. I know that Alan and others may have been disappointed that I am retiring from the Presidency. But in Tokyo, Alan showed his full support and fully understood my intentions.

Like me, he wants what is best for our sport and for the ITTF. I am sure that he will continue to play a very important role in our sport. Of course I will still listen to his ideas, especially regarding my new position of Chair.

I can guarantee to Alan -- and all other table tennis enthusiasts and ITTF supporters -- the direction under the new leadership of President Thomas Weikert will also focus on development, promotion and marketing within the P5 plan. However, Thomas has a different style from mine and I believe in his abilities to lead the ITTF to greater heights using his unique style of leadership, which has proven to be extremely successful in Germany.

Thomas also has a great personality and will make everyone feel at ease right from the beginning. The ITTF will be in good hands with a strong President, a strong Executive Committee and a solid professional structure that works in harmony with all of our elected officials at all levels.

And I will have a bit more time to enjoy a "Shandy" with Alan.

Thank you, Adham.  As the time left during your ITTF Presidency is now less than one month, I am confident that many people will appreciate that you have shared your thoughts about the upcoming transition.