Two-time Commonwealth Games singles champion Sharath Kamal and China’s Liu Shiwen were named co-chairpersons of the International Table Tennis Federation’s Athletes’ Commission in Amman, Jordan, on Friday.
This is for the first time that the ITTF has chosen two chairpersons — a male and a female — and both will be part of the ITTF Executive Committee.
Conferred the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award on Wednesday, Sharath was delighted with the opportunity offered by the ITTF. “For almost a year, I’ve been thinking about representing the Athletes in ITTF. Coming from a weaker table tennis country (India), and living and training in Europe for nearly 18 years, I understand the requirements of athletes across various levels and spectrums. Fortunately, to be liked by both the athletes and the ITTF administration, I was approached with this idea of representing them and I am happy now that I can carry out my roles and responsibilities from this position,” he said.
‘Alice in Wonderland’
In fact, Sharath attended his first ITTF Executive Committee meeting on Saturday and presented suggestions on topics ranging from equipment, tournaments, and world ranking. “For the first 30 minutes, I was almost lost… like Alice in Wonderland. But slowly I was able to understand and cope up,” said Sharath.
The 10-time National champion is expected to leave for Germany for training on December 7, a day after the crucial ITTF Annual General Meeting, which could ban the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI). This situation arose after the Committee of Administrators, in defiance of ITTF’s specific directives, neither restored the TTFI Executive Committee by September 15 nor held fresh elections on or before November 15.