Table tennis has become literally a global sport after the ITTF became the first international sports federation to achieve a full house of national associations under its umbrella.

Guinea Bissau became the 226th member of the ITTF earlier this month, ensuring every nation on Earth is part of the table tennis family.

ITTF President Thomas Weikert was present at the ceremony in Guinea Bissau to give the official welcome into the ITTF family, and handed over the ITTF flag to the elected President of the national association, Avelina Jandi.

Mr Weikert was joined by ITTF Development Director Leandro Olvech and they met the President of the National Olympic Committee, Sergio Mane, and the State Secretary for Youth, Culture and Sport, Tomas Barbosa.

Celebrating and assisting over 70 children at the ceremony getting in touch with table tennis for the very first time, Mr Weikert said:

“I am very glad to having the possibility to see with my own eyes the situation of an Association starting from zero.

“Bringing Table Tennis to all parts of the world was a priority for the ITTF and I am really happy to see this process ended, but we have to be aware that the challenges don’t end here but rather change the priority into empowering.

“This will be done with education, a key word for the development, by implementing administration courses to all National Associations who want to take part, and promoting healthy, sustainable and autonomous members.”

Receiving the ITTF flag from Mr Weikert, Ms Jandi said:

“I am highly committed to implementing Table Tennis throughout the country and would like to express my gratitude towards the support received from the ITTF, the National Olympic Committee and the State Secretary for Youth, Culture and Sport.”

Click here to watch a video of the celebrations in Guinea Bissau.

The official approval of Guinea Bissau, together with Cape Verde, Eritrea and Bahamas, will be made at the ITTF Annual General Meeting on 31 May in Dusseldorf, Germany during the World Championships.

Following the official induction into the ITTF family, these four new members will receive US$25,000 technical support from Seamaster, the title sponsor of the ITTF World Tour, and US$5,000 equipment support from Stag International, alongside empowerment through coach education and organisational development.