The World Championship Trophies - A Retrospective



The 7 World Championship trophies, the highest tributes to excellence in our sport. These Cups have been hoisted high by the Champions of Champions, the elite of our sport. Doubtless there are many stories behind each of the sacred Cups, the sweat of incredibly hard and dedicated work to earn them, the tears of joy on the podium when dreams came true ... and the inspirational play, delighting fans worldwide for over 80 years. The Cups are held by the winning Table Tennis Association, and returned for the next World Championships. Let's look at the history of each of these Crown Jewels of Table Tennis.
The historic Swaythling Cup, presented to the winners of the Men's Team event at each World Championship. The Cup was donated in 1926 by Lady Baroness Swaythling, mother of Hon.Ivor Montagu.

Hungary won the Swaythling Cup in each of the first 5 World Championships, and a total of 12 times, the last in 1979. China has won the Cup a record 15 times, beginning in 1961. They are the current holders. Japan has won the Cup 7 times (1954,55,56,57,59,67,69 Czechoslovakia 6 (1932,39,47,48,50,51), Sweden 5 (1973,89,91,93,2000). One-time winners were Austria (1936), USA (1937), and England (1953).
The Corbillon Cup, donated in 1933 by Marcel Corbillon, President of the French TTA, for the inaugural Women's Team event in the 1934 World Championships (held in Paris, December 1933). The original Cup disappeared during the early days of the Berlin occupation after World War II - the German Women's team won the Cup in the 1939 World Championships in Cairo. The German TT Federation paid for an exact replacement made in 1949. Will the original ever surface?

Despite the early dominance of the Hungarian men, and such stars as 5-time World Singles Champion Maria Mednyanszky, Magda Gal, Anna Sipos, Gizella Farkas et al, Hungary has never won the Corbillon Cup. China, the current holders, has won the Cup a record 16 of the last 18 times! Japan has won the Cup 8 times, beginning in 1952, their last in 1971. Romania, with late legendary Angelica Rozeanu at the helm, has won 5 Cups (1950,51,53,55,56). Czechosolovakia won in 1935,36.38, while two-time winners are England (1947,48), Germany (1933/34,1939) and the USA (1937,49). The USSR won in 1969, South Korea won in 1973, the unforgettable Unified Korean team in 1991, and Singapore in 2010.
The prestigious St. Bride Vase, awarded to the Men's Singles World Champion. The trophy was donated by C.Corti Woodcock in 1929, member of the exclusive St. Bride Table Tennis Club in London, in honor of Fred Perry's winning the title at the 1929 World Championships in Budapest.
A veritable Who's Who of Table Tennis superstars have hoisted this prestigious trophy high. Legendary Victor Barna of Hungary won a record 5 of the next 6 Championships.

Richard Bergmann was a 4-time World Singles Champion, 1937,39,48,50. He was denied the opportunity to defend his title at the 1947 World Championships in Paris due to his "professional" activities (touring with the Harlem Globetrotters). Disappointed but undeterred, Bergmann went to Paris and staged a protest demonstration, parading back and forth in front of the venue, with a large placard proclaiming that only he was the true world Champion, challenging anyone to play a match for 500 British Pounds. Bravo Richard!

The brilliant Zhuang Zedong (CHN) won three consecutive titles, in 1961,63,65. Also a three-time winner is China's Wang Liqin, who won the title in 2001, 2005 and 2007. Two-time winers include Bohumil Vana (CZE) (1938,47), Johnny Leach (1949,51), Ichiro Ogimura (1954,56), Toshiaki Tanaka (1955,57), Guo Yuehua (1981,83), Jiang Jialiang (1985,87), and the amazing Jan-Ove Waldner (1989,97).
The Geist Prize, for the Women's Singles World Championship, donated in 1931 by Dr. Gaspar Geist, President of the Hungarian TTA. The late Angelica Rozeanu (ROM,ISR) won the Championships a record 6 consecutive times, 1950-55). Maria Mednyzansky (HUN) won the title 5 consecutive times (1926-1931) but held the Prize only in 1931 when it was first presented.

Gizella Farkas (HUN, 1947,48,49), Deng Yaping (CHN 1991,95,97) and Wang Nan (1999,2001,03) were 3-time winners. Anna Sipos (HUN 1932,33), Marie Kettnerova (CZE 1933 Paris,1935), Ruth Aarons (USA, 1936,37), Trude Pritzi (1937,38), Kimiyo Matsuzaki (JPN, 1959,63), Pak Yung Sun (DPRK 1975,77) and Cao Yanhua (CHN 1983,85) and Zhang Yining (CHN 2005,09) are 2-time winners.

Aarons and Pritzi were both defaulted in the 1937 Finals because of the time rule, a travesty that was corrected by the ITTF in 2001 when they were officially declared co-Champions.
The Iran Cup, for the Men's Doubles World Champions, was presented at the 1947 World Championships by the Shah of Iran. The most successful Men's Doubles partners were Victor Barna and Miklos Szabados, who won the Vase 6 out of 7 years beginning in 1929. Barna also won in 1933 with Sandor Glancz and again in 1939 with Richard Bergmann. The late Jimmy McClure (USA) won the title 3 consecutive years, with Bud Blattner in 1936,37 and with Sol Schiff in 1938. Kjell Johansson (SWE) won the title 3 times, with Hans Alser in 1967,69 and with Stellan Bengtsson in 1973. Kong Linghui won 3 Men's Doubles titles, with Liu Guoliang in 1997 and 1999, and with Wang Hao in 2005.
The W.J.Pope Trophy, presented to the Women's Doubles World Champions, donated in 1948 by W.J. Pope of England, then ITTF Honorary General Secretary. The Women's Doubles event was first introduced in 1928. The brilliant Hungarians Maria Mednyanszky and Anna Sipos won the title at 6 consecutive World Championships, 1930-35, Maria also winning in 1928 with Austrian Flamm Fanchette. Wang Nan (CHN) won 5 consecutive titles, with Li Ju (1999, 2001) and with Zhang Yining (2003, 05, 07). Three-time winners include Angelica Rozeanu (ROM,ISR: 1953,55,56), Maria Alexandru (ROM: 1961,73,75), Deng Yaping (CHN: 1989,95,97) and Zhang Yining (CHN: 2003, 05, 07).
The Heydusek Cup, for the World Mixed Doubles Championship title, donated in 1948 by Zdenek Heydusek, Secretary of the Czechoslovakia Association. Maria Mednyanszky partnered with Mechlovits (1926,1928), Szabados (1930,31,33Paris) and Kelen (1933) to win the title a record 6 times. Anna Sipos (HUN) won three times, with Victor Barna (1932,35) and Kelen (1929), and Angelica Rozeanu won with Vana (1951) and Sido (1952,53). Ichiro Ogimura and Fujie Eguchi of Japan won three consecutive Cups in 1957,59,61, as did Wang Tao and Liu Wei, in 1991,93,95.
The World Cup, inaugurated in 1980 and presented annually to the winner of an elite competition based on the top ranked players who qualify for the event. The amazing Ma Lin of China holds the record as a 4-time winner: 2000,03,04,06. Vladimir Samsonov (BLR) won 3 times, in 1999, 2001 and 2009. Two-time winners include: Guo Yuehua (CHN 1980,82), Ma Wenge (CHN 1989,92), Zoran Primorac (CRO 1993,97) and Timo Boll (GER 2002,05).
The Egypt Cup, presented at the World Championships to the host nation of the next World Championships. The Cup was donated in 1939 by King Farouk of Egypt, and it represents the friendship of the Championships.