No testing method for bat 'doping' currently, clarifies ITTF chief

German Timo Boll had told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that 80 per cent of players treat the rubber on their bats with chemicals to give their shots a catapult effect.
German Timo Boll had told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that 80 per cent of players treat the rubber on their bats with chemicals to give their shots a catapult effect. PHOTO: AFP

Days after quashing fellow German Timo Boll's claim that most players are using illegal material on their bats, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) chief Thomas Weikert said yesterday that he was misquoted.

Boll, a two-time World Cup winner who played in China for several years, had told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that 80 per cent of players treat the rubber on their bats with chemicals to give their shots a catapult effect.

Speaking at a press conference to announce major outcomes of the ITTF's annual general meeting, Weikert - who became president in 2014 - said: "Sometimes there are false comments in the newspapers.

"The fact is, at the moment, there is no testing method to detect (Boll's allegations). An example of how difficult it is - you need a lot of money and of course the players have to tear off their rubber."

Weikert said he has received various proposals since, including a bounce test from Japan, and a test from a German professor.

He added: "If you do not have a method that is cheap or (practical), then you have to do other things."

The ITTF chief said he will meet bat manufacturers this week to get feedback on this issue. Adding that the goal was to ensure a level playing field, he suggested the ITTF could even tweak its rules such that everyone has the same advantage.

At the press conference, it was confirmed that Hungary will host the 2019 World Championships.

Weikert also told The Straits Times that Singapore had submitted an unsuccessful bid to host a Super Series event last year, but said he expects the Republic to bid again for a 2017 tournament.

With the World Team Championship possibly facing a reduction of teams, he said Singapore could host the premier tournament one day.

"Why not? I saw some venues which are possible and maybe we have a structure with less teams, it's possible," said Weikert.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'No testing method for bat 'doping' currently, clarifies ITTF chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe