United States of America Lily Zhang. Picture Courtesy: ITTF Media
The city of Houston, in the United States of America, will host the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships and will be the first time it will be hosted in the Americas and also the first time it will be done outside Europe and Asia since 1939.
This most historic event in Table Tennis, dating as far back as 1926, will showcase the world’s best table tennis players and it’s scheduled to serve off from 23rd-29th November this year.
Officials have announced that fans will be able to attend the event with tickets going on sale this August.
Adopting a revamped and expanded format for the first time, the flagship tournament of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), will feature 128 players in singles (Men and Women) and 64 pairs in each of the doubles competitions (Men Doubles, Women Doubles, Mixed Doubles) competing in a straight knockout format.
Qualification for the tournament has been revised due to the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. Several qualification tournaments including the regional and continental qualification events for the singles events were cancelled.
With the disruption caused by the pandemic, the ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings were used to determine the qualification of players for this year’s tournament. The application of the 3+1+1 rule states that each Member Association (MA) will be limited to a maximum of three players will be applied.
The exception will be of those MAs with a player in the top 100 World Ranking (who will be allocated one extra place) and a player in the top 20 World Ranking (who will be allocated one further extra place).
MAs will need to confirm their players by 23rd August 2021 and are permitted to replace their allocated player with another, as long as they are among the top 256 players in the ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking. A final playing list will be announced in September.
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The World Table Tennis Championship was last held in Budapest in 2019. The Team edition was scheduled to take place in the Republic of Korea, in Busan last year was postponed and eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 World Table Tennis Team Championship will take place in Chengdu, China.