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ITTF to train world's young players in China
Updated: 2005-05-06 13:56

SHANGHAI- The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is to launch an academy in China next year, bringing promising young players from around the world to the sport's superpower to learn their trade.

"We will start a table tennis academy at Beijing University in September 2006," ITTF president Adam Sharara told Xinhua news agency.

Young players from around the world, in particular Africa and America where ping pong is not widely known, will be sent to train at the academy.

Table tennis has been dominated for decades by Asia and Europe while players from other continents are rarely seen in international tournaments.

Sharara said it was essential for the sport's survival that it was brought to a wider audience.

"If table tennis is only popular in Asia, one day it will die," he said on the sidelines of the world championships here.

"So we must keep the sport alive by developing it everywhere."

Sharara attributed the regional imbalance to the lack of opportunities to play competitive table tennis in some parts of the world.

"We need to organize 400 tournaments at the junior level, so a player can play 20 tournaments a year without having to travel all the way to other countries," said Sharara.

At present, there are only 11 world junior circuit events each year.

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