European Table Tennis Union President Ronald Kramer highlighted the importance of inspiring the next generation and valuing volunteers during a visit to the PG Mutual National Championships.

Mr Kramer was impressed by the event at the University of Nottingham, and praised Table Tennis England for making “remarkable progress” in recent years.

He said of the event:

“I think it’s wonderful. You see top-level table tennis, top players, the organisation is getting better and better.

“You are making remarkable progress in a number of ways and I was very interested to see your national championships and how they are evolving.

“National championships are very important because that’s where your team comes together, all the people in your organisation.

“For the promotion of your game and the development of your sport, these championships are very important, including what happens around the championships. We had volunteers who were celebrated here and many events take place around national championships which highlight the importance of table tennis.”

Mr Kramer also spoke of national championships as a stepping stone for young players and a chance for those players to inspire the next generation.

He said:

“For the players, a national title would be the first title you can win before you go abroad. You have some very inspirational players at the moment. You need people to connect to (as heroes) and some are so far away but these are nearer, you can watch them, shake their hands, you can get their autograph.”

As well as watching the event, Mr Kramer had a series of meetings with officials from the venue – which he described as unique and magnificent – and from Table Tennis England, including Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe and Chairman Sandra Deaton, who also chairs the ETTU youth committee.

Mr Kramer said:

“A lot is happening around English table tennis at the moment and it gives me a chance to meet other people as well, and I learn. That’s one thing you should do as a president – keep in touch with what is happening – and a lot is happening here in England.”

Table Tennis England officials also took Mr Kramer to visit the Carlton-le-Willows Academy in Nottingham, home to a Talent Development Centre and a facility part-funded by a Table Tennis England grant.

Sara Sutcliffe said:

“We were delighted to welcome Mr Kramer to Nottingham. Table Tennis England aspires to be a world-leading governing body and we invited him to the PG Mutual Nationals to share with him our progress so far and to tap into his knowledge and insight.

“He was not just here to see our showpiece occasion but also to meet with the Board, staff and volunteers of Table Tennis England and to hold wide-ranging discussions about all levels of table tennis and what can be done to give its participants the best possible experience.”