Table Tennis England’s Head of Competitions and Events Neil Rogers is among a group of 16 people chosen from across the entire sport sector for the inaugural Event Leaders Programme.

The UK Sport-led initiative aims to grow the number of world-leading event directors in the UK and Neil and the rest of the intake came through a competitive application process for the programme, which began in March, and represent a breadth of sports which also include from triathlon, taekwondo rugby league, netball and football.

The programme is the first of its kind to collaboratively pool events and people-development expertise from across the sport sector and will provide an opportunity for them to build upon existing leadership skills, learn new approaches and consider the ethical challenges major events have a responsibility to address.

Neil’s acceptance on to the programme co-incides with Table Tennis England’s mission to bring more top-level table tennis events to this country. We are already in discussions with World Table Tennis (WTT) about hosting a series of WTT event from 2022 onwards.

A bid in conjunction with British Para Table Tennis to host the 2023 European Para Championships in Sheffield will now go forward to the ITTF and we have also begun the consultation process to host the 2026 World Championships – the centenary edition of the event – in London.

Neil said: “I’m delighted to have been accepted as part of the inaugural cohort on this exciting and unique programme!

“UK Sport is a gold-standard organisation – I look forward to this learning opportunity, to challenging myself, and working to support Table Tennis England’s ambitions to host major international events.”

Esther Britten, Acting Deputy Director of Major Events at UK Sport, said: “It is really exciting to be able to announce the first cohort of our inaugural Event Leaders Programme.

“Our ambition is to host some of the world’s biggest sporting events over the next decade and to do this well will need impactful leaders who understand people and culture, the successes and challenges of event delivery and the power of sport to drive societal change. We look forward to supporting this group on their leadership journeys.”