FORMER world No.1 player Jean-Michel Saive, who is contesting against Thomas Weikert for the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) presidency, is a legendary figure in Belgium.
Saive, who had won cadet boys’ singles title at the 1984 European Youth Championships, claimed silver at 1993 World Championships and became the senior European champion the following year.
He competed in seven consecutive Olympic Games from Seoul 1988, when the sport made its Games debut, to London 2012.
The 46-year-old, who was his country’s flag-bearer at the 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens Olympics, made his debut at 13 and still holds the record for the most ITTF World Championships appearances, having competed in 24 editions.
Saive, who retired in 2015, was also a member of Belgium squad, which claimed silver at the 2001 Osaka Worlds behind the formidable Chinese.
He is presently European Olympic Committees’ Athletes Commission Chairman. Dsp