At the Annual General Meeting of the ITTA in 2023 Pat Hunter was elected as President of the Association for a period of two years.
Pat began playing table tennis at school and became seriously interested in the sport in 1964 when she was awarded player of the week plus a free week’s coaching whilst on holiday at Butlins Mosney. The Coaches for that week included Tommy Caffrey and Johnny Leach.
Pat became Joint League Secretary of the Omagh & District TT League in the mid 70’s, and then became General Secretary of the Ulster Branch in 1978. As well as playing in the B&D League, she obtained ITTA Level 2 coaching award, captaining Irish teams to European Youth Championships and N Ireland teams to Commonwealth Championships. She was selected by ITTA to attend a one week international table tennis seminar in Holland entitled ‘Specific Preparation for major Events such as the 1988 Olympic Games’ when table tennis was to become an Olympic sport for the first time and presented a summary to a Coaches’ Seminar on her return.
Pat also had many playing successes, with career highlights being Irish Open Ladies Doubles Champion, National Irish Doubles Champion and Ulster Open Ladies Doubles Champion. Pat also won many singles titles, including the North of Ireland Open and National Veterans Title and reached R16 of the World Veteran’s Championships in Dublin 1992. She represented N Ireland at 4 Commonwealth Championships (Edinburgh, Isle of Man, Kenya and India) and Ulster at both Senior and Veteran Interpros.#
Fast forward to 2009/10 when Pat became the first female Chair of the Ulster Branch, later joining the Board of ITTA in 2011 as Finance Director. The following year Pat became the first female Chair of Table Tennis Ireland where she remained for 4 years. Pat was asked back to the Board in December 2018, becoming Finance Director once more.
At the 2023 AGM, Pat stood down from the Board, and was elected first female President.
Rob Cowan stated “As Pat and I worked together on the Board we have built a strong friendship which I value greatly. But, when I recommend her to you today, that recommendation is based on her expertise, her record, her commitment, and her leadership. If times do get tough again, I believe that the Association would be well served with Pat Hunter as President”.
Joseph Veselsky is the Irish Association’s Life President, a position he has held since 1986 after a period of 4 years as Table Tennis Ireland President. Joe, as he is known to all, first arrived in Ireland from his native Czechoslovakia in 1949 and shortly afterwards became the Irish Men’s Coach. Retired from his jewellery business and having recently celebrated his 105th birthday, Joe maintains his interest in our sport through his position in Table Tennis Ireland and as a former President of the Swaythling Club International. Joe was an important influence in having the World Veterans Championships allocated to Ireland in 1992. He also has interest in the UCD soccer club where he is a Vice President. In 2007, the President of the Slovak Republic bestowed the prestigious Order of the White Double Cross 111 on Joe.
Ken Strong became Deputy Table Tennis Ireland Life President in 2023 after holding a number of important positions in the Irish Association at both Board and Branch levels over a period of more than 50 years. Initially beginning as a Branch Committee member in Ulster in 1970 and then at national level in the Irish Association. In addition to service in his local Tyrone County Association, Ken was Ulster Branch Secretary for 16 years, Chairman and President each for 5 years. He is a former Chair, Secretary and International Director of Table Tennis Ireland as well as Chair of the former National Training & Selection Committee. Ken was Non-Playing Captain of Irish Senior Teams at several World and European Championships. He was also Ireland’s delegate at many ITTF and ETTU Congresses and AGMs. In 2023 Ken stepped down as director when he was appointed to his current position of Deputy Life President.