ITTF President Adham Sharara witnessed the 2012 China Open in Shanghai personally last week. With this opportunity, a reporter from New People's Evening News and an old friend as well conducted an interview with the highest official in table tennis.
Q: Table Tennis is the National Sport of China. Do you think it will be sought after by global audience in the London Olympics?
A: In this regard, I am not worried. I will tell you, back in 2004 Athens Olympics, table tennis was placed in the fifth position in terms of viewership in all the Olympic events. In the Beijing Olympics, our sport went up ahead to the top spot. In the upcoming edition, I believe it will continue to maintain the momentum.
Q: But you know that table tennis is a small sport unlike volleyball or basketball. Are there any new ideas in terms of broadcasting the sport?
A: I hope that the 3D broadcast technology can also be applied for table tennis. Unfortunately, the London Olympics might can't achieve it. However, we and the CCTV staff have been communicating and coordinating with each other for the best presentation to the audience. At the same time, DHS is also of great help in providing a unique landscape to make it more exciting for the players.
Q: The London Olympics for the first time limited the number of participants for each NOC in the Singles event. Is this implemented to suppress the dominance of the Chinese Team? What do you think?
A: Restricitng the Chinese Team is not the goal. Stimulating players from other countries to challenge themselves and to challenge the Chinese Team is the whole purpose. The Chinese Team has the best three players but can only send two players for the Singles. It may seem unfortunate but it gives opportunities for other athletes to compete for the medals which is the best motivating factor. If they (China) will get the gold, at least there is still the silver or the bronze.
Q: The Singles will come first before the Team event in the London Olympics. To what do you consider that for?
A: First of all, the Singles players will also be in the Team event. We will have these players to have their baptism in the Singles so they will be able to play better in the Team. Secondly, the Team competition will help extend the attention from different audiences. If successful, this reform will be applied to future Olympic Games. However if not, then the London Olympics will be the last.
Q: During your tenure, there were several introductions of new rules. How do you see them?
A: Introduction of new rules is not a simple matter. However, if these new rules can indeed promote the development of the sport to make it more attractive to younger people, we will be happy to discuss these rules.
Q: China Open just ended and it became another domestic competition between Chinese players. How do you think you can break the dominance of the Chinese Team?
A: Europe has a lot of good young players. I believe, four or five years after, they will be able to compete with the Chinese Team. You can see now that there are some South Korean players who won some matches. This is a good trend. However, the Chinese Team will still be powerful. I just want to see the contending situation and allow more and more countries to fell in love with the sport.
Photo source: duob.cn