India’s Achanta Sharath Kamal and China’s Liu Shiwen were elected as joint International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Athletes’ Commission chairs ahead of the ITTF Summit in Amman, Jordan on Friday.
It is the first time that the ITTF Athletes’ Commission has two chairs – one woman and one man – elected to lead the body, which is regarded as the voice of table tennis athletes in the federation.
“Having strong, diverse voices for our athletes is so important in keeping our federation in the lead in keeping athletes at the heart of the sport movement,” said ITTF president Petra Sorling, reports Xinhua.
Liu, 31, was a member of China’s gold medal winning team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and took silver in mixed doubles in Tokyo 2020. She also won the women’s singles title at the Budapest 2019 World Championships, 13 singles titles on the ITTF World Tour and the Women’s World Cup five times.
Achanta, 40, made his mark on the international stage when he won the men’s singles title at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Overall, he has seven gold, three silver and three bronze medals to his name at the Games.
Both Achanta and Liu will become members of the ITTF Executive Committee. They join South Korean Ryu Seung-min, first vice-chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, in representing the voice of athletes.
The two chairs will attend their first Executive Committee meeting, while all members of the Athletes’ Commission will take part in the first-ever ITTF Summit in Amman.
In addition to Achanta and Liu’s election, the Athletes’ Commission elected two deputy chairs Stefan Fegerl and Elizabeta Samara. Like the two chairs, one male athlete and one female athlete was elected to ensure gender parity at the highest levels of the commission.