Breaking new ground, new territories and adopting a whole new playing system: all of this and more is what’s in store for the 2021 and 2022 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, which will be hosted in Houston, USA and Chengdu, China respectively.
The news follows today’s historic vote at the ITTF’s Annual General Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary, where National Associations voted in favour of what will be two of the most eye-catching events that the sport of table tennis has ever known.
USA RARING TO HOST HISTORIC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALS
Sky-high levels of excitement surround the 2021 World Championships Finals, which will be held in Houston, USA: the very first time that table tennis’ greatest annual event will be staged in the land of stars and stripes.
The decision ensures that this will be a totally unprecedented, historic event for more reason than one:
Strong bids put forward by USA and Morocco ensured that 2021 would mark the first time in 82 years that the World Championships Finals are held outside of Asia and Europe, since Cairo, Egypt hosted the 1939 competition.
The choice of USA opens up doors for the sport to enter an exciting, new market and confirms the very real globalisation of the game – one of the key goals behind the changes to the World Championships format approved last year in Halmstad, Sweden.
Yes, that’s right: the 2021 World Championships Finals will be the first edition under the expanded format to ensure maximum participation of ITTF member National Associations, adding further to the unprecedented global appeal of what is shaping up to be a simply incredible event.
CHINA & USA PROMOTING PING PONG DIPLOMACY
The 2022 World Table Tennis Championships Finals are also set to be incredibly memorable, as China emerged the successful candidate to stage the event, overcoming extremely stiff competition provided by Japan and Portugal, and the host nation – alongside 2021 hosts, USA – has a clear message to spread ahead of the event.
‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ originally came to the fore, of course, back in 1971, when an American delegation was invited to play a series of friendship matches in the People’s Republic of China.
Almost 50 years later, Ping Pong Diplomacy is just as relevant and crucial within the ITTF’s everyday aspirations to use table tennis as a tool for rebuilding international relations.
The fact that USA and China will be staging the World Championships Finals in consecutive years is a fitting way to celebrate half a century of arguably the sport’s greatest success story, which shows no signs of ending.
Whilst so much has been done already, especially in the last year thanks to the Unified Korea initiative, there is even more to come and Chengdu, China will very much be in the international spotlight when the 2022 World Championships Finals get under way.
LOOKING FORWARD TO MAKING MORE HISTORY
“I would like to thank all nations who bid to host our biggest annual event. It was fantastic to see so many high-level bids from a great range of countries.
“We noticed raised interest in hosting the World Championships Finals, due to the expansion of the competition from 2021, which adds even more value and prestige.
“The quality of the bids we received is fantastic news for table tennis globally and we now have two extraordinary World Championships Finals events lined up, which will capture the imagination of players and spectators, opening up the sport to an ever-expanding market.
“I can’t wait for the build-up to both events now, albeit for the next week we are fully focused on making the best possible sports spectacle in Budapest!”
ITTF CEO, Steve Dainton
“We’re thrilled not only to be hosting the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships, but also to have the chance to help commemorate that historic moment when Ping Pong Diplomacy was born. In 1971, China and the United States came together and helped change the world.”
Harris County – Houston Sports Authority CEO, Janis Burke
“This is the first time that I have been involved in such a fierce bid with three very strong countries bidding to win this prestigious event. We are so happy to win and look forward to showing Chengdu to the entire world in 2022.”
CTTA Vice President, Liu Yi