Petra Sörling of Sweden was elected today as the eighth President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). As the first-ever woman in this position and one of only four women currently presiding an Olympic International Federation, she will bring the governing body into a new era.
Her main goal to create value through a membership centred governance while strengthening the commercial growth of table tennis relies on four pillars: ITTF family, governance, growth and sustainability.
“I am deeply honoured to have been chosen for this position,” said Sörling following her election. “I would like to thank all my dear friends and colleagues from the entire table tennis family. I want to be a President for all of you. I will work for and with you in the coming years. And I will keep my promise to you – to listen – as achieving my mission of leading the ITTF will not be possible without your valuable thoughts and commitments.”
United ITTF family: Unite the membership by bringing back peace, improve inclusion and engage in discussions with the continental bodies and its leadership.
Strengthen governance: Clarify organisation, promote equity, and further strengthen the ties to the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
Commercial growth: Innovate event structure, drive a strategic digital transformation and initiate new revenue streams.
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A sustainable future: Make ITTF a role model with the aim to inspire in the future IOC/IPC. In-line with UN development goals focus on increasing diversity and inclusion, decrease inequities, improve health, and aim for a more responsible manufacturing value process.
“I want to secure table tennis’s position as one of the world’s leading sports and aim even higher among the leading sports and reach for the top at the forefront of the sport community as a modern, diverse, and unified world-class sport federation,” she added. “We are in a fast-transforming era when it comes to business and sport. It’s not only table tennis. We have to move on but without losing our tradition or our core values.”
Sörling also wants to reinforce the focus on sustainability within the table tennis community and will launch programmes to increase diversity and inclusion to raise awareness of the positive health effects of the sport, and to explore new opportunities for responsible consumption and production.
“At the heart of the ITTF group´s vision is to make table tennis accessible to all, for life and for future generations. To achieve this, the sport must make it its mission to focus its efforts towards three key areas: people, planet and prosperity.”
The ITTF President is elected by the assembled representatives of the member associations for a term of four years, with the possibility to stand for re-election not more than twice in the same role. The new President replaces Thomas Weikert.
Sörling has been active in the governance of table tennis for 20 years. She was elected to the ITTF Executive Committee in 2009 and quickly advanced to take charge of several key areas for the 226-member strong federation such as the Para division, sustainability and most importantly accepting the role as the ITTF Executive Vice President of Finance in 2013. Sörling has also led a successful career in real estate in the vibrant city of Malmö, Sweden.
“I am now looking forward to starting to work with the Executive Committee and to serving our 226 Member Associations. Let’s all work towards our common goal, ‘Table Tennis. For All. For Life. Forever”.
‘Just appreciating the skill levels of the team to build the car, to see the work they do on a weekend at a grand prix is incredible. The drivers – what they have to go through and the consistency and mindset.
‘It’s something I really appreciate… it’s so different from what I’m used to. It’s something I’m really in to.
‘To see them driving around Monaco so close to the barriers with one hand on the wheel, it’s sensational really.’
Such coolness under pressure was also a big part of Carrick’s game as a player, when he helped run United’s midfield during many of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glory years with a range of cunning passing rarely seen in an Englishman.
After the dreadful few weeks United have suffered, they need a dose of Carrick calm tonight, and certainly not any havoc at all.