Adriana Díaz and Martin Perry - first Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors. ITTF

On the World Environment Day on 5 June, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has launched a New Ambassador Programme for athletes to promote a more sustainable sporting ecosystem. The ITTF is the world governing body of table tennis, representing 227 Member Associations.

The ITTF has appointed Adriana Diaz and Martin Perry as the first Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors, professional table tennis and Para table tennis players who want to get more involved in sustainability efforts. Both are elite athletes who are committed to environmental protection and sustainability and are actively working towards a more responsible lifestyle and a sustainable indoor sports ecosystem.

Currently ranked 12th in the world, Adriana Díaz is one of Puerto Rico's most celebrated sporting icons. She has achieved remarkable success at the Pan American Games and made history in 2016 as the first female table tennis player to represent Puerto Rico at the Olympic Games. In 2019, she won the island's first gold medals at the Pan American Games. 

Her extraordinary achievements earned her the title of 'Athlete of the Decade' in Puerto Rico in 2020. Together with her sisters, Díaz has launched a notebook collection designed and manufactured using only environmentally friendly, alternative and sustainable materials. 

"I am thrilled to be part of this programme as I strongly believe in the importance of promoting sustainability and being aware of our impact on the world. I was lucky enough to grow up on a beautiful island, rich in nature and biodiversity. I look forward to identifying some concrete actions that I can support and encourage others to join," she said. 

Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. GETTY IMAGES
Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. GETTY IMAGES

Martin Perry is a Class 6 Para table tennis player representing Great Britain. He is a double European Team Champion and World Championship bronze medallist and will make his Paralympic debut at Paris 2024. He is also an advocate for reducing plastic waste and has been actively involved in campaigns to promote the use of reusable materials within the sporting community. 

"I was unaware of the impact of climate change and the importance of living more sustainably until I started competing for Great Britain and had the privilege of travelling the world. It was an eye-opening experience as I realised just how much waste we produce and the impact it has on people's lives, particularly in deprived countries and areas," he said. 

"It is only now that I can look back on my upbringing and understand the cost-effective lifestyle my parents had to live by, but now I can see the damage that such a lifestyle and lack of available alternatives leaves does not only to us as people, but to the environment and the world around us," Perry concluded. 

The Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors programme aims to raise awareness of global sustainability issues and provide a platform for athletes to voice their passion and take action. Ambassadors will be supported, educated and trained on environmental issues such as climate change, clean water, waste, plastics, equipment manufacturing, travel, carbon footprint and product lifecycle. 

The programme is in its early stages and will soon involve more ambassadors. Any table tennis player aged 18 or over who has been ranked in the top 150 for the last two years and is willing to work towards a more sustainable future for table tennis can apply. 

"We are delighted to have Adriana Díaz and Martin Perry as our first Table Tennis Planet Ambassadors. Their commitment to this initiative will set a strong example for all athletes. The ITTF is committed to protecting the environment and we hope that our athlete role models will inspire many in the table tennis community," said Petra Sörling, ITTF President and IOC Member.   

The core of the ITTF's vision is to make table tennis accessible to everyone, for life and for generations to come. Sustainability in table tennis involves balancing environmental, social, and economic factors to create a healthy, just and prosperous society within the table tennis community, without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. 

The ITTF is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Sport for Climate Action Framework, and one of the founding organisations supporting the Sport for Nature Framework. Its commitment to integrating sustainability into all its activities and contributing to solutions for global challenges is set out in the ITTF Sustainability Action Plan 2025.