ITTF announces setting up of academies in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack

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April 6th marks the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) and is an opportune occasion to acknowledge the valuable contributions sport can make in the lives of young people and communities on a regular basis.  

On this day, the ITTF Group reiterates its commitment to driving sustainable social change and positive impacts worldwide.  

The ITTF Foundation is at the forefront of this mission fostering development through table tennis. To grow its impact, the non-profit organisation launched the Table Tennis for Development (TT4D) Handbook in four languages today. 

The handbook provides guidance for developing table tennis-based activities, exercises, and programmes while accomplishing specified development goals for coaches, facilitators, social workers, and young leaders. It will also support the achievement of some significant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

On the occasion of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, a visit with ITTF president Petra Sörling and ITTF Foundation director Leandro Olvech was also organised to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, where a project started in 2021 exemplifying what sport can achieve for development.  

Odisha capital Bhubaneswar has a slum population of more than 300,000. The prevalence of gender disparity in these slums manifests itself in the public health and well-being concerns, impacting girls and women.  

Through the Community Table Tennis project, the ITTF Foundation and its local partner, PSD International, have used table tennis as a vehicle for development through a structured, goal-oriented and gender-sensitive curriculum. The programme provides girls and boys from slum communities in Bhubaneswar, Odisha with the tools to become gender-sensitive, confront harmful gender-based stereotypes while reshaping gender perceptions of their peers and family members. 

The ITTF delegation from the ITTF Group made use of the opportunity to also meet up with Kamlesh Mehta, secretary general of the Table Tennis Federation of India. They also met with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, where they announced the setting up of table tennis academies in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, as well as table tennis training centres across the state.

Said Petra Sörling, “On this International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we reaffirm our commitment to using table tennis as a force for good in the world. The launch of the Table Tennis for Development Handbook in multiple languages is a major step forward in our efforts to promote sustainable social change through sport. We are proud of the progress we’ve made in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, and we look forward to continuing to expand our efforts to other communities around the world. Together, we can use table tennis to create a more inclusive, equitable, and peaceful world.” 

The delegation also expressed their support for the growth of table tennis within the state and pledged to work closely with the government to build on that. In the pipeline would be new events, along with more quality coach education being readily available.