(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
A total of 60 days to go before the first ball is hit in anger at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships; on Sunday 2nd April, in Hall No.6 at the Messeplatz, the very same hall in early June which will host the finals, a Press Conference was staged at the Düsseldorf Fair.
Timo Boll and Petrissa Solja took part in an exhibition match. Meanwhile, Thomas Weikert, ITTF President, addressed the media. He was present alongside Werner Dornscheidt, President and Chief Executive Officer Fair Düsseldorf; Burkhard Hintzsche, City Director Düsseldorf and Martin Ammermann, Chief Executive Officer Düsseldorf Sport and Event.
Understandably, there was heavy focus on the two German stars and there is the added ingredient in the fact that Timo Boll joins forces with Ma Long in the Men’s Doubles event; whilst in the Mixed Doubles, the partner for Petrissa Solja is another member of China’s elite. She allies with Fang Bo.
“It will be a very special feeling for me to enter the arena and 8,000 spectators are waiting. I think it will take some moments until I can concentrate on the match. I am really proud China chose me to play alongside Ma Long. We have a good harmony as a doubles pair; also there is also a harmony outside the table. I am sure we both will try our very best to reach out for medals. Everything is possible, also winning the doubles title. We can communicate better and better, because his English improved a lot” Timo Boll
Equally, Petrissa Solja, who is one of the players at the vanguard of the European challenge in Düsseldorf, is equally most positive about her chances.
“My big goal is to reach the quarter-finals in singles and then to play in front of 8,000 spectators in my home country for a medal. I have already contacted Fang Bo about our Mixed. I told him that he should practise seriously and very well, because I want to become World Champion.” Petrissa Solja
World Championships are always special occasions; especially on home soil; it is just the same Thomas Weikert, not only for the fact that the tournament will be played in his native Germany, also a landmark will be reached.
“We expect up to 700 players from 120 Nations for the biggest indoor sports event of the world. It is delightful to see in the same World Championships, players from small nations competing with the big stars in our table tennis family. Also, four new members are expected to join the ITTF in Düsseldorf; the ITTF will become the first international sports federation with complete coverage of 226 national associations. This is unique in sport.” Thomas Weikert
It is anticipated that thanks to the ITTF Development Programme, every country which has a National Olympic Committee will be members of the International Table Tennis Federation; they are four such applicantions to be endorsed at the Annual General Meeting.
“We expect a wonderful event; ITTF and the German Table Tennis Federation are very satisfied with the co-operation with the city of Düsseldorf, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Borussia Düsseldorf a local partner!” Thomas Weikert
Now five years since Dortmund staged a magnificent Liebherr 2012 World Team Championships; the very same awaits in Düsseldorf for the Liebherr 2017 World Championships.
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