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

By Sheri Cioroslan | July 19, 2014, 5 p.m. (ET)

Day 44, July 19 - Shi Zhihao Is Committed to Making TT More Popular

“I am ready to contribute my all to the promotion of table tennis throughout the world.”

Shi ZhihaoShi Zhihao was first a player, then a champion, then a coach, and now an ITTF Executive Vice-President since 2013.  Today he visits with the Countdown about his roles, his expectations and his hopes for the future. 

1980 was a special year for your table tennis career since you won gold medals in the Men’s Singles and the Men’s Team at the Asian Championships in Calcutta as well as the silver in Men’s Doubles.  Then as part of the Men’s Team, you won a gold medal at the 1981 WTTC’s in Novi Sad.  Can you tell us what that was like for you?

Yes, it is special for me. I won the gold medals and of course felt very, very happy. It felt like I had achieved a goal in my life as a player. 

Obviously you rose up in the CTTA under Xu Yinsheng’s presidency.  Can you share some of your memories of his effectiveness?

Mr. Xu is a very nice person and a great president. He contributed all of his life to table tennis and he has done a lot for the CTTA. Also, as the president of the ITTF at that time, he worked very hard and made great contributions to the development of table tennis throughout the world. 

What was your role in the CTTA during the Beijing Olympics?

I was the head coach of the National Women’s Team during the Beijing Olympics. 

A common concern people in our sport express is the dominance of China.  What is the solution that you think would be best to address this issue?

The CTTA has done a lot of jobs on this issue, for example, holding training camps, sending coaches abroad for table tennis lectures, etc. But I think to solve the problem, all the table tennis associations and all the players and coaches around the world should work together with the CTTA. 

What interested you to become a member of the EC during the 2013 election and what are your objectives as an ITTF Executive Vice-President? 

As a table tennis player and a coach, I love this sport very much and hope it will become more and more popular throughout the world. This is also my goal as an ITTF Vice-President. I hope more people will come to understand and love table tennis. I hope it will attract more attention. I am ready to contribute my all to the promotion of table tennis throughout the world. 

You stated in your report to the AGM that you are involved in the relocation of the ITTF Museum to Shanghai.  Do you have any news as to when the logistics will be resolved?  I heard from Mr. Yao that the location is fantastic.  Can you tell us more about that?

The location of the ITTF Museum is in the 2010 Shanghai Expo site, very close the China Pavilion. The Shanghai government has prepared everything needed for the museum. They are now waiting for the ITTF approval. Once the ITTF makes the decision, all the issues will be resolved. 

Another area of responsibility you have been involved with is the Youth Olympic Games Camp in Shanghai.  By all accounts, it was fantastic.  Do you have any details about the camp or the YOG to share with us?

The reason the YOG training camp could achieve such a success is that there was a great cooperation between the ITTF and the CTTA. I hope such cooperation continues for more high-level promotions for table tennis. 

Right after the YOG, on September 1, Adham Sharara will transition from ITTF President to Chair.  Do you have some special recollections you can share with us about President Sharara and his contributions to the ITTF? 

Mr. Sharara has done a lot for the ITTF, such as improving the position of table tennis in the Olympics, pushing forward the promotion of the sport throughout the world, expanding the ITTF family, etc. He is a great president and has made a great contribution to the ITTF.