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 Welcome message from ETTA Chairman Alex Murdoch

I welcome you on behalf of the English Table Tennis Association to the prestigious Liverpool Open Butterfly Grand Prix, the first Grand Prix event of this season.

The Butterfly Grand Prix series continues to go from strength to strength, with participation and quality of play increasing with every event, whilst our hardworking Events Department continues to seek out the best facilities whilst keeping costs down.

The recently announced new strategy from Sport England (for full details see their website and for an overview see the ETTA website under My Forum), means that we have already started work to generate our sports planning for funding covering the period 2009 -2013, against the outcomes required. This new strategy will give the National Governing Bodies much more empowerment for the delivery of their sports development requirements in the community from grass roots to potential international talent.

All of this is being embraced and linked within the overall Government agenda covering School Sports via the Youth Sport Trust and the Elite Programme via UK Sport. The key outcomes will involve increased participation at all levels, coaching, officiating, club development, Competitions for all, Increase in our talent pool, a reduction in the drop outs that all sports face in the 16 to 18 age range, and ensuring the diversity of our sport.

I believe that the ETTA is entering its most exciting and challenging period for table tennis as a sport in England in the run up to the Olympic Games in 2012 and the legacy beyond. As table tennis is one of the designated Olympic sports this period is likely to present many opportunities for the development of the sport. Copies of the new 2000 Club initiative will be available at the weekend; please join this, it is to raise income to support non-funded players and give our young players the additional opportunities they deserve.

The Grand Prix programme could not run without the help and support of many local volunteers, the Grand Prix Committee, referees and umpires, the tireless work of Mick Strode, the Grand Prix sponsors Butterfly, the ETTA Events Department of Harvey Webb, Matthew Porter and Vanda Jones, and last but not least your support for the events.I hope you have a great weekend both on and off the table and both Val and 1 hope to be participating so we look forward to seeing you in Liverpool.

Alex Murdoch ETTA Chairman

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