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

By Sheri Cioroslan | Aug. 31, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Sheri Cioroslan and Adham ShararaNow 1 Day: Turning the Table on the Mastermind of the Countdown 

It seems like yesterday when Sheri Cioroslan started the 100-day countdown celebrating my 15-year presidency of the ITTF. Today, I will reverse the trend and interview Sheri instead with just one question. But before I do that, I would like to sincerely thank Sheri on behalf of all those that have contributed to this series of articles and interviews. I also would like to sincerely thank all the contributors who made this series such a success. 

Tomorrow, Monday 1 September 2014, I will address the transition to the new president of the ITTF, Thomas Weikert, in what we will call a “post-countdown” days.  Then on Tuesday 2 September, Sheri will interview Thomas Weikert. There will then be a couple more post-countdown interviews and a conclusion by the mastermind of these series, Sheri Cioroslan herself. 

Day 1, Sunday 30st August 

So, now I am the interviewer and Sheri is the interviewee: 

Q: 100 days ago, many of us were very sceptical at your announced challenge of producing 100 days of articles and interviews. Some even questioned the validity of the whole concept. Frankly, I even suggested to you to do just 10 articles or interviews, one every 10 days. You insisted on 100. Kudos to you, after you stated to roll out these historical articles, nuggets of delicious facts and figures, and a series of captivating interviews, all the naysayers were transformed to fans. In the process we discovered a lot of new views and we read the thoughts of some of our most prominent officials and professionals. All in all tis was a very successful project and today it “almost” comes to an end. A glorious and successful end. But I know there will be a few post-countdown “spill over” interviews and we look forward to them. Now, the million-dollar question: 

How did it feel to run a 100-day project of this kind? 

Adham, back on May 24, I started a 100-day odyssey, the Countdown, in honour of your 15 years as ITTF President.  I promised to cover a wide range of topics, including:   

  • News from the recently-concluded World Championships
  • A review of major changes over the past 15 years
  • An introduction to key ITTF officials/contributors
  • The ITTF’s mission to be “top 5” among international federations
  • Successes and growing pains
  • The unique role of table tennis in peace initiatives
  • A look back at past presidents and their impact on the ITTF

To me, it’s been more like one extended day.  Of course, there’s a feeling of satisfaction.  The fact is, though, your P5 ambitions, including making the ITTF and our sport the TOP 5 IN ALL WE DO, means that we are going to have to band together, like the table tennis family we are, and commit to contributing toward the cause. 

Through the Countdown, many people stepped up and participated.  Some recounted interesting stories.  Others offered excellent ideas that can be incorporated into the P5 Plan.  And most enjoyed citing extraordinary accomplishments over the past 15 years.  

Going forward, I hope that people will find their comfort zone, or even stretch themselves, whether it is to work on what Walter Rönmark (Day 3) called the “small steps” in front of us or to broaden their outlook by realizing as Jörgen Persson (Day 2) said, “The sporting world around us is changing by the minute and that should be our main reference point.” 

It was a pleasure to work with you to bring this project to fruition.  I thank Ian Marshall (Day 39) and Sean O’Neill (Day 38), who posted the daily articles at ittf.com and usatt.org, respectively.  I should also point out with appreciation that throughout the series, Larry Hodges has posted a link to every single article on his blog tabletenniscoaching.com. 

I want to thank everyone who joined our odyssey, whether as participants or readers. 

Thankfully, although there will be a transition, you will serve in a new position, ITTF Chair, so we are not actually wishing you a comfortable retirement.  All the best to Thomas Weikert as he assumes the ITTF Presidency tomorrow.