by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Perhaps it is somewhat fitting that Budapest should host the first of the year.
A member of the International Table Tennis Federation since inauguration, one of the major reasons the third World Championships in 1929 were allocated to the city was owing to the success Hungary had enjoyed in the first two editions of the tournament; London in 1926, Stockholm in 1928.
Even to this day, only China can boast more medals than Hungary at the World Championships; for China it is 134 gold, 99 silver, 150.5 bronze, a total of 383.5. The list for Hungary reads 68 gold, 58.5 silver, 75.5 bronze, overall it is a grand total of 202 medals.
However, it is not until recent years that Hungary has staged ITTF World Tour tournaments; the first was in 2010 in Budaors, the forthcoming event being the seventh; there was no such gathering in 2011 or 2013.
Now since 2014, Hungary has been ever present but there are two hosts in 2018 whose name has been ever present since the very first year.
Staged in early June, Japan will play host for the 23rd consecutive occasion, immediately preceding, China will organise such a tournament for no less than the 32nd time; the reason why the number exceeds the years is that from 2004 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2013, China hosted two ITTF World Tour events per year.
Familiar destinations and there are more; Qatar will welcome the world for 20th occasion and as always in Doha, the city that has hosted more ITTF World Tour tournaments than any other.
Similarly Germany will play host for the 19th time, for Korea it will be the 18th, for Sweden one less, the 17th occasion. Likewise, Austria opens its door for 13th such gmeeting, for Australia the number is nine, whilst for the sixth time the destination is the Czech Republic and for the Bulgaria, it is the third successive exploit.
Names from previous years but there is one new name on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour calendar; commencing with qualification on Tuesday 22nd May, the destination is Hong Kong.
The latest member, Hong Kong becomes the 42nd national association to host an ITTF World Tour tournament but they are no strangers to the itinerary; in both 1997 and 2006, they staged the Grand Finals.
Calendar: Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour