Day 13, August 19 - Germany’s Hans Wilhelm Gäb Provided ITTF the Model for TMS
“Our game has to become even more understandable and visible for regular sport fans.”
How did you get involved in table tennis?
My father, in 1948, managed to find an old ball and a rotten table tennis net at a time when Germany was totally down and destroyed after World War II. We started to play in the kitchen with simple wooden bats with no covering. In 1949, I joined a Club in Düsseldorf with nine members. It was the start of Borussia Düsseldorf, currently Timo Boll’s Club. It has dominated German table tennis since 1960.
What do you think it will take for TT to be in the TOP 5 IN ALL WE DO?
Our game has to become even more understandable and visible for regular sport fans. Starting with a service that opens the game and good rallies instead of preparing a deadly third ball. Thus, we need to keep losing the “Ping-Pong” image.
Can you comment on the special ties you have with Adham Sharara?
I met him in the late eighties when I was European Table Tennis Union President as well as Continental Vice President of the ITTF for Europe. I was impressed by his eloquence, his sharp mind and his competence in analyzing complex matters.
What do you think have been Adham's most meaningful contributions to the sport / the ITTF?
He has moved table tennis into the modern world, had the courage for creative solutions, established our sport as a significant member of the Olympic family and made table tennis an interesting factor for TV stations. After the famous founder Montagu, who as a communist used table tennis sometimes for political reasons, Adham has been the most effective and strong leader, our sport has ever had.
Thank you, Mr. Gäb. President Sharara deeply appreciates your friendship as well. He added this tribute to you:
The first person I consulted when I was seriously considering running for a VP position on the ITTF EC in 1993 was Hans Wilhem Gäb. At that time he was the President of the ETTU and also the reformer of the German TTA.
I consulted him and received his support to run for the ITTF Marketing VP position, which had to be created by the AGM. He explained to me how marketing worked in the German TTA (DTTB) and how it was done through TMG, the marketing arm of the association. This of course gave birth to the idea of creating TMS under the same model of TMG.
In 1993 the new VP position was not created, but I was elected to the ITTF's EC in 1995 and started the steps to created TMS.
I have the highest respect and admiration of Mr. Gäb, who has served his club, his region, his country and his continent in table tennis for such a long time. If it were not for personal family circumstances that led Mr. Gäb to resign his ETTU presidency, he would have been the natural successor to Mr. Ogimura as ITTF president.
Thank you, President Sharara, for sharing that historical perspective about Mr. Gäb. It’s especially timely information with Germany’s Thomas Weikert’s assumption of the ITTF presidency taking place in just a few weeks, on September 1.