Pan America, Continents Unite - Butterfly Table Tennis
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All of one accord left to right Juan Vila, Thomas Weikert and Tony Kiesenhofer Photo by Rémy Gros

Pan America, Continents Unite

Pan America, Continents Unite for Major Tournaments
Courtesy of ITTF

Every four years the Pan American Games is staged; the various competitions are fought fiercely, the table tennis events are no exception; now following an agreement between the Latin American Table Tennis Union and the North American Table Tennis Union, the concept of the two continents uniting will happen on an annual basis.

At the current 2015 World Junior Championships in La Roche-sur-Yon, France on Saturday December 5th, an agreement was reached to promote three events: the Pan American Championships, the Pan American Cup and the Pan American Junior and Cadet Championships.

Presidents in One Accord
Under the guidance of Thomas Weikert, President of the International Table Tennis Federation an agreement was reached between Juan Vila, President of the Latin American Table Tennis Union and Tony Kiesenhofer, President of the North American Table Tennis Union.

The plan is to hold the Pan American Junior and Cadet Championships in 2016 with the host association being the United States; the tournament will replace the current Latin American Junior and Cadet Championships as well as the North American Junior and Cadet Championships.

Notably, the Pan American Junior and Cadet Championships will be the qualification for the World Junior Championships.

Likewise, in 2017 the separate Continental Championships and Continental Cup will be combined under the Pan American heading.

“I think there are many benefits”, said Juan Vila. “The standard of play will be of a higher level; especially in the area of marketing it should create more possibilities, open doors for more integration, working together promoting training camps and the whole extensive concept of development.”

Likewise, Tony Kiesenhofer was very positive, agreeing with Juan Vila regarding the areas in which the union will be beneficial for both parties.

Increased Value
“Like Juan, I think it is much better for marketing, a better investment; at the moment in North America, we have two national associations competing, in the future that will be over 24 associations”, explained Tony Kiesenhofer. “Latin America now has several good young players, Brazil has also strong senior players and in North American we have very promising young players.”

Now the task is to put proposals into practice.
“We are agreed for next year, the process for 2017 will start this month”, added Tony Keisenhofer. “The plan is each year to have two tournaments in Latin America and one in North America.”

Hard Fought Competition 
Interesting times ahead; if the Pan American Games is the example; hard fought competition awaits.

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