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Rival candidate emerges to challenge Weikert for ITTF presidency

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) deputy president Khalil Al-Mohannadi has announced that he will stand for the presidency of the sport’s world governing body during this year’s elections.

The Qatari official becomes the second person to officially declare his candidacy, alongside current president Thomas Weikert.

Elections will be held on May 31 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The deadline for national associations to submit nominations for presidential candidates is April 30.

Al-Mohannadi (pictured) has served as president of the Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) since 1995. He assumed the role of ITTF deputy president in 2015 and also held the position from 2005 to 2006. Al-Mohannadi served as executive vice-president of the sport’s global governing body between 2007 and 2014.

Qatar has hosted a number of ITTF-sanctioned events during Al-Mohannadi’s time at the QTTA, including the 2004 World Team Championships and a qualification tournament for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Should Al-Mohannadi be elected as ITTF president, he has pledged to ensure that all world-title events benefit from a title sponsor, and also aim to increase the popularity of the sport worldwide through major television deals.

Al-Mohannadi would also promote the ITTF’s development programmes, unify the eligibility rule for all international events to be the same as the regulations required for the Olympics, and seek to ensure transparency in all ITTF financial transactions.

Weikert has led the ITTF since September 2014 when he was appointed deputy president following the departure of Adham Sharara, who stepped down after 15 years in the top role. Weikert announced he would stand for another term in October.