ITTF President Sharara Says Foreigners Should Train With Chinese Table Tennis Team
Int'l Table Tennis Federation President Adham Sharara said that China's table tennis federation "should give foreign players more access to its coaches to ease the country's stranglehold on the sport and attract more television and sponsor interest," according to REUTERS. In the men's game, "Chinese players have won seven of the past eight biennial world championships, while China's women have claimed the last 10 titles." Sharara said that "lesser Chinese preeminence would help attract greater sponsorship and television coverage of table tennis," which has been an Olympic sport since '88. Sharara: "Even in China itself, the general public is getting tired of seeing China winning all the time. We need more cooperation from the Chinese. They're opening the door but ever so slowly. They need to sacrifice to make the others better, even to lose to the others, so the sport becomes more and more interesting." He spoke through an interpreter "and the lack of foreign language skills among China's players has also made promoting the game more difficult." Sharara: "I'm trying to convince the Chinese federation that their top players must speak English, so now they're giving them English courses." Sharara said that "this would help sell the sport to broadcasters" (REUTERS, 1/17).