SINGAPORE – The world’s first Home of Table Tennis (HoTT) could be located in Singapore, which has been described by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) as a “shining example of what is possible” as it inked a memorandum of understanding with Sport Singapore (SportSG) on Sunday.
The signing ceremony, which was attended by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong and the ITTF’s top brass, took place before the men and women’s singles finals of the second edition of the Singapore Smash at the OCBC Arena.
The MOU allows both sides to kick-start discussions on setting up the HoTT.
Envisioned as an international centre of excellence, a HoTT in Singapore would focus its efforts in raising the profile of table tennis within the local community and create avenues for athletes and coaches to strengthen capabilities through ITTF’s knowledge and networks.
Riding on Singapore’s technological capabilities and talent, it can also be a test bed for innovative creations and digital solutions for table tennis and contribute to the uplifting of the sport worldwide via programmes to further grow community participation and spectatorship.
ITTF president Petra Sorling, its first female leader, said: “This project is a significant milestone for table tennis and a clear signal of our commitment to the sport’s continued growth and development around the world.
“As we strive to bring table tennis to new corners of the globe and inspire the next generation of players and fans, Singapore serves as a shining example of what is possible.
“By partnering with SportSG to consider establishing a hub in Singapore, we are laying the foundation for a more innovative, inclusive and sustainable future for our sport. We are excited to continue working closely with SportSG to bring this vision to life and create more opportunities for table tennis players and fans worldwide.”
SportSG CEO (designate) Alan Goh added: “Through this, SportSG will work with the ITTF to chart new paths and create more opportunities to benefit our local athletes, coaches, industry partners and others in our table tennis fraternity.”
The HoTTs are intended to expand the sport’s global footprint and provide host cities the opportunity to leverage “the power of sports to promote economic growth, social progress, and international collaboration”.
The project was launched in 2019, but had to be put on ice due to Covid-19. With the pandemic largely under control worldwide, the ITTF is welcoming global cities to apply and get on board, with Singapore identified as a potential candidate after successfully hosting several marquee World Table Tennis events, including the Singapore Smash.
The ITTF will consider each application carefully and select the most suitable host city for each headquarters, based on a range of factors, including infrastructure, accessibility and local support for table tennis, boxes which the Republic mostly ticked.
ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton said: “This initiative is certainly a step forward in our efforts to grow and develop the sport of table tennis in Singapore and around the world as we hope to inspire the next generation of table tennis players and fans.
“Since the opening of ITTF’s Asia-Pacific office in Singapore in 2011, we have seen table tennis grow by leaps and bounds in Singapore. We look forward to having more of such hubs around the world.”