Legendary Chinese table tennis player Liu Guoliang will become the Chair of the newly formed World Table Tennis Council. Serving as the president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, the 44-year-old will take a leadership role in the future of the sport of table tennis.
“World Table Tennis (WTT) is honoured to announce that Mr. Liu Guoliang, President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, will become Chair of the newly formed WTT Council, taking overall leadership and responsibility for pioneering the future of table tennis,” the International Table Tennis Federation announced in a press release.
“Mr. Liu is an extremely well-respected leader within the global table tennis community, demonstrating the perfect caliber and richest of career achievements. Following a stellar playing career, in which he won gold medals at the Olympics and World Table Tennis Championships, Mr. Liu has since overseen serial success as the head coach of the Chinese National Team and as the President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), the world’s most successful table tennis association.”
“WTT is highly honoured to welcome Mr. Liu as Chair of the WTT Council. We believe that, by following his direction, the global table tennis community will strive for a common goal, driving the WTT Council as well as our sport to the next level.”
The former Olympic Gold Medalist was named as President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association in 2018 following a power struggle one year earlier. In 2017, Liu was let go from his previous position as head coach of the Chinese table tennis team and offered a trivial position as one of 18 vice-presidents of the Chinese Table Tennis Association.
The decision received backlash from former Chinese national table tennis team players, as well as three players from the men’s squad at the time. Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the world’s top three players at the time, all decided to boycott the China Open to protest the decision made by officials from the Chinese Table Tennis Association. The three players voiced their concerns and called for Liu to return as the head coach of the national team.
According to the International Table Tennis Federation, the newly established WTT council will include key stakeholders, such as active and retired players, event hosts and ITTF officials from around the world. The council will serve to represent the views of all key table tennis stakeholders worldwide, and play a role in ensuring that all parties’ voices are heard and participate in the development of the sport together.
The International Table Tennis Federation has yet to release the list of other members on the council: “The remaining members of the WTT Council will be announced shortly.”