"I am very happy with the outcome. This new position is very well suited to me at this stage, and I will have the time to contribute efficiently in special focus areas needed for the further development of the ITTF. The new plan is designed to move table tennis into the top five sports in the world."
International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) President Adham Sharara has been elected to the newly created position of Chairman of the ITTF at the ITTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Tokyo, Japan.
Eighty per cent of the AGM delegates voted in favour of creating this position, and Sharara was voted as the first ever Chairman with 90 per cent of the votes.
The position is an independent and non-political position without any voting or decision-making power. The new position comes into effect on 1 September, at which time Sharara will retire as ITTF President, a position that he has held for the past 15 years.
At the conclusion of the AGM, the 60-year-old Canadian stated: "I am very happy with the outcome. This new position is very well suited to me at this stage, and I will have the time to contribute efficiently in special focus areas needed for the further development of the ITTF. The new plan is designed to move table tennis into the top five sports in the world."
According to the ITTF constitution, item 1.7.1, the ITTF Deputy President Thomas Weikert of Germany will succeed Sharara as the ITTF President on 1 September.
"I am honoured to be the next ITTF President," said Weikert, who is also the President of the German Table Tennis Association.
“I have very big shoes to fill, as Adham has done a fantastic job growing the sport over the past 15 years. However, I am excited about the challenge and I am looking forward to building on the good work Adham has achieved in his presidency."
During Sharara's 15 years as ITTF President, he has overseen major changes designed to make the ITTF more commercially viable and attractive to TV audiences.
This included changing the games from "first to 21 points" to "first to 11 points," and increasing the size of the ball from 38mm to 40mm, just to name a few.
Sharara is leaving the ITTF in good health, after being in charge since 1999.
The ITTF's growth under Sharara includes:
• ITTF moving up the Olympic funding table after London 2012.
• ITTF's major events being broadcasted live in 110 countries.
• ITTF having the third highest number of social media followers among all Olympic international federations.
• ITTF currently holding over 75 events a year in all corners of the globe.
• ITTF having 220 National Associations , which is the equal highest of any International Federation second highest of any sport on the planet.