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Celebrating World Table Tennis Day: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
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A picture of PSD's WTTD celebrations in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
PSD celebrated the World Table Tennis Day Celebrations in Delhi and Bhubaneswar, marking this year’s theme of diversity and inclusion.

On April 23rd, 2024, the world commemorated  World Table Tennis Day (WTTD), an occasion dedicated to celebrating the sport of table tennis as well as the universality and social inclusiveness the sport represents. This year, the theme for WTTD revolved around diversity and inclusion, highlighting the sport's potential to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and abilities. 

In this spirit, Pro Sport Development (PSD)  celebrated the day with great enthusiasm in Delhi and Bhubaneswar, Odisha, promoting diversity and inclusion through table tennis. 

A day of fun and unity

In Bhubaneswar, the day commenced with a table tennis tournament among PSD’s coaching staff. The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as colleagues immersed themselves in the sport, engaging in healthy competition while showcasing their skills and camaraderie. Beyond the tournament, the team engaged in a series of inclusive table tennis-based activities, fostering team spirit by ensuring equal opportunities for everyone. A total of 16 team members participated, including coaches, team staff, peer leaders and former participants of PSD’s programs.

“I got to play table tennis for the first time. I had great fun playing with my teammates and I also got to know more about diversity through this friendly tournament. This experience helped me realize that sports do not always have to be played with the same age-group, people of different ages can play together.”

                   -Suchitra Rout, Community Sports Trainer, PSD Bhubaneswar

Meanwhile, in Delhi, the celebrations started with the launch of ITTF Foundation's World Table Tennis Day Diversity and Inclusion Handbook. The handbook commissioned by the Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was co-developed by PSD. This resource provides practical insights and strategies to promote diversity and inclusion through and in table tennis. 

Reflecting on diversity and inclusion

Following the launch, an interactive activity ensued, gathering team members from PSD's partner organizations - Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF). The activity involved participants expressing their thoughts on inclusion and diversity, and how these critical values can be fostered in and beyond sport. This exchange of ideas shed light on how inclusion and diversity can take on different meanings depending on the context. One particularly intriguing insight shared during the activity was:

“For me, inclusion means respecting differences and working in a way that nobody is left behind.”

Inclusive Mela 

The event continued with an inclusive mela, witnessing the participation of a total of 25 colleagues. The mela consisted of various unique table tennis-based activities, taking inspiration from the Table Tennis for Development (TT4D) handbook, which were carefully curated to ensure equal participation for all. Each colleague had the opportunity to engage in the games, fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and mutual enjoyment. Shruti Tripathi, one of the attendees, echoed this sentiment as she shared: 

“I do not know how to play table tennis but the idea of an inclusive mela piqued my interest and made me register for the event. It was very interesting and truly inclusive as everyone from the program to the support to the hospitality staff was included and we truly appreciate PSD’s effort to organize this, it was very enjoyable!” 
 

A joyous end to the celebrations

As the day drew to a close, both celebrations culminated in shared moments of laughter and camaraderie. Colleagues gathered to enjoy snacks and engage in light-hearted conversations, strengthening the bond among both teams in Delhi and Bhubaneswar. 

In celebrating World Table Tennis Day, the PSD teams in Delhi and Bhubaneswar reaffirmed their commitment to fostering an inclusive sporting culture. Through their shared passion for table tennis, they celebrated diversity and inclusion through the promotion of equal participatory opportunities. 

 

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