Interview with Thomas Weikert

president ITTFThomas Weikert: We are one family and it´s necessary to paras and other athletes are together

Only a few hours before the Opening Ceremony of the ITTF Para Table Tennis World Team Championships in Bratislava, the president of the ITTF, Thomas Weikert, appeared to be satisfied. He saw that the historically first Team World Championships is ready to begin.

What do you think about this competition?

"I mean we had in the other championships also with the athletes, single and teams, I think it is a good idea because then you can split. It´s maybe easier, a little bit for the organisers and I think it´s a good idea to have it and of course historical first time in Bratislava. So I think it´s very good for the whole family and then the para followed the others or we are one family so we have the same tournament style now."

We have teams from thirty countries of the world. It´s a huge number for the first championships.

"I think so and I just spoke with the organisers, not so easy to organise 250 athletes and hotels, I know from the World Championships which I organised myself with the team in Germany. It´s a big challenge and but I mean Bratislava is a big city, nice city so they will manage it with the organising team. I think so, I am confident that this will be very very nice Championships."

The first time, historically the first time in Bratislava, how did you came to the idea to organise it in Bratislava and maybe your first impressions from this city?

"I know Bratislava from tournaments before, especially from the European Youth Championships in the last year and they are experienced here, they have, Ján Riapoš, they have Anton Hamran, they are experience to organise, so it was no easy to give them the Championships, because they are able to do that in a very good style. We have many hotels here, modern hotels, we have a very good venue with the arena here, and by the way walking distance which is for the athletes very good, we have parathletes, we have special facilities, but the ways are not far, so it is very good. First impression: Sun is shining, 20 degrees, what do you want more? It´s very good now.

weikert2Do you have maybe a favourite among all the teams, or how do you like want to watch all the games, or what is your favourite?

"I have no favourite. I saw many para games, in Rio was fascinated about the matches there, about the enthusiasm of the athletes, so I am looking forward to having it the same way and I am convinced it will be, so no favourite, I will watch every class and see what is going on."

It is almost one year after the Rio games, is this a good day to organise the historically the first team championships, or how did you come to this date?

"I think so because now it´s on the way to Tokyo, we have to held up the spirit of Rio, this was a very very nice tournament and now we have to focus at the end on Tokyo. Here it is World Championships and every athlete needs to fight, the enthusiasm from Rio going to Tokyo, so I think so that is the right moment to have again this spirit."

Weikert riaposHow important is the handicap department or the handicap games for the IITF?

"It´s very important, I mean, you know, the World inclusion is a very big word, but only to have it as a World, but to use it, to do it. And we are one family and it´s necessary to paras and other athletes together. We also had two athletes who are competing, or we had at the Olympics, two athletes competing in both, Natalia Partyka and Melissa Tapper, from Poland and Melissa Tapper from Australia. So that shows that we are one family, and I mean we have to improve,I think the para department because in the last year we did a lot, but we can do more, I think, so this is also a goal for the next term in ITTF. "

Is there a plan to make this event even bigger than like thirty countries, that this is the first time and it will be improved?

"This is for sure the goal, thirty countries for the first time is very good, but you know from the other championship, we will take place in Dusseldorf in two weeks, or the World Championships in teams, we have eighty, ninety countries participating in women and in men, so it must be the goal that also the para family grows and grows, so next time maybe we will have here the first debut, next time we will have fifty, so this is the goal."

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 16:52