Women of substance need to show it off

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-10-12 07:29

When success becomes stodgy, maybe it's time to sex it up - a la Sharapova.

That's the path the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is taking to revive diminishing interest in the game.


The trick is to change players' clothing to make it look more stylish and appealing, and reflect cutting-edge design concepts, according to Steve Daiton, director of ITTF Asia Office.

As China continues to soar in the sport, international audience interest has taken a dive; so what better way than encouraging Chinese women players to look stylish and win back viewers, he asked.

"I think any change should begin from the country," Daiton told China Daily.

At the recent 2007 Women's Table Tennis World Cup in Chengdu, a fashion fiesta displaying saucy dresses grabbed the attention of players and fans alike.

They were designed by celebrated fashion guru Lu Kun who believes the current outfits "look too dowdy".

"Although the skirts are just a small part of the changes, they may spark a revolution by changing the image of table tennis," Daiton said.

"It might be a revolution if women paddlers wear skirts during games just like tennis and badminton players, which will definitely help win back the lost interest in the game," said Daiton.

Chinese table tennis officials agree with Daiton and national champion Peng Luyang gamely tried a skirt at the fashion show.

Even world and Olympic champion Wang Nan - though not very comfortable in the new attire - believes she and others have to go with the flow.

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