By Neha Aggarwal
The ITTF recently signed a groundbreaking four-year partnership with Seamaster, a Chinese shipping company, for the World Tour events which includes six platinum and six regular World Tour events plus the year end World Tour Grand Finals.
Last month, at the very first 2017 World Tour event, the Hungarian Open culminated with a positive response, which included an increase of $50,000 in prize money since the past year.
The second stop of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour is the India Open, which is currently being staged in the city of New Delhi, from 16-19th February 2017. The initial amount of prize money was settled for a $120,000, but in the latest development, the total amount of prize money has been now been hiked to $150,000.
The India Open has witnessed some of the highest ranked players in the world take part, 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist and world no.5 Dimitrij Ovtcharov and world no.8 Vladimir Samsonov in the men’s singles as the highlight. In the women’s side, ranked no.14 Doo Hoi Kem and no.19 Lee Ho Ching are the players to watch out for.
This boost in the prize money has been delightfully welcomed by the players, and specially the organizers of the event. For India, this becomes one of the most prestigious table tennis event ever conducted in the country, a fact being applauded by the Indian media and sports fans. The overall commercial value of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open helped the organizers bring Star Sports, India’s most reputed sports TV channel, broadcast all four days of event live. This is also the very first time that a table tennis event of this stature is being broadcasted on Indian television.
Additionally, the prize money for third stop for the World Tour which is the Qatar Open, to be staged in Doha from 23-26th February 2016, has also been increased. The original amount was $150,000, which has now been pulled up to whooping $220,000.
The Qatar Open will be one of the most glamorous event of first two months in 2017 as all the world’s top 14 ranked players will be on duty in both men’s and women’s singles. 2016 Rio Olympic champions Ma Long and Ding Ning will return to action in Doha for the first time in 2017!
While this development as a result of the Seamaster sponsorship deal is just the beginning, there will be further improvements and increase in prize money of the World Tour to be announced in the coming future.
Stay up to date on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour here.