“I have a clear vision to take our sport to the next level,” Jean-Michel Saive, aged 47, stated yesterday (Thursday). He was speaking at the Belgian Inter-federal Olympic Committee (the COIB), where he officially announced his candidacy for the President of the International Table Tennis Federation (the ITTF). Saive explained, whilst presenting his 11-point plan. “If I were to become President of the ITTF, I would bring all of my experience as a player and official to the role. During my career, I have had discussions, throughout the world, with a large number of the sport’s participants.”
Saive wishes, amongst other things, to make table tennis one of the “top [global] sports” and to consult national associations and all interested parties before each major decision in the sport is made.
The table tennis player, who has participated in seven Olympic Games said, “I wish to bring greater focus upon the foundation of our sport, that is the hundreds of millions of players who make up the sport of table tennis. The ITTF should be a federation for everyone and and not only for the elite. Thus, I wish to integrate, within the sport, a veterans’ world championship as part of the programme of annual ITTF competitions.”
The former world number 1 wishes to strengthen the ITTF’s links with the International Olympic Committee and engage in meeting various manufacturers to find a workable solution, so that ball quality can be improved.
As a player, Saive developed his game on all continents. Sometimes, in literally empty rooms. He wishes to change that. He has no shortage of creative ideas. He says, “Why not organise a competition in Times Square?”
At club level, he is still active with the Logis Auderghem club. Saive concluded, “If I become the President, my life will, of course, change. The presidency is a full-time job. I will have to stop playing for my club.” The election will take place on 31st May 2017 in Düsseldorf, during the Global Tennis Championships. In theory, 222 federations are able to vote.
Currently, the President of the ITTF is the German Thomas Weikert. The latter announced at the beginning of October that he would be seeking a new term of office through to 2021.
The Qatari Khalil Al-Mohannadi also announced that he would run. The candidates have up to and including April 30th to go the campaign trail.
Saive ended his international career at the end of 2015, having hoped to participate, for an eighth time, in the Olympic Games. All the same, the professional from Liège was still present in Rio de Janeiro, running for a seat on the Athletics Committee of the IOC. However ‘Jean-Mi’ was not elected to this role.
Saive is already President of the Athletes Committee of the Belgian Inter-federal Olympic Committee (the COIB) as well as the Athletes Committee for the European Olympic Committees.
His campaign site is now online at www.saive4president.com.