by Kabir Nagpal
Last staged in London in late February 2018, the best 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams in the world will lock horns in search of some of the sport’s most highly coveted silverware.
When and where is the Team World Cup happening?
The tournament returns to Japanese shores at a crucial moment in the nation’s sporting history; it serves as a test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We are delighted that ZEN-NOH returns as Title Sponsor of a major ITTF event in Japan. We look forward to working with the Japan Table Tennis Association (JTTA) and ZEN-NOH to present an exciting and memorable Team World Cup, paving the way to more extensive cooperation in the future at further ITTF events globally.” – Kimberly Koh, ITTF Head of Sponsorship
Played across the midweek to weekend period, five days of intense action and high quality matches await. There being no quiet introduction, adaptation to the environment must be immediate. The pressure is on the shoulders of those who compete from the very start and there is only minimal margin for error if any.
The total prize fund is US$ 270,000: for the title winning teams $ 50,000 and for the runners up $ 25,000.
Qualification and playing systems like?
The host nation teams automatically qualifies. Five additional teams qualify through the Continental Cup competitions.
To complete the set, runners up at the 2018 Pan Am Championships plus five other teams – not selected as the continental team or the host – who finished in the highest position at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships, qualify.
For the complete qualification system, click here.
As for the order of play, there will be 38 fixtures evenly split between the men and women. The seeding is calculated according to the latest available World Rankings. The overall tournament consists of two stages – the round robin group stage and the knock-out main draw.
In the first stage, the teams will be divided into four equal groups, with all the members of a group playing each other; in the second stage the group winners and runners up will compete in knock-out format action.
The highest-ranked team will be placed in Group A, the second highest in Group B, the third in Group C and the fourth in Group D. The remaining teams will be drawn into the groups two at a time in ranking order.
For the main draw, the winners of Groups A and B will be placed in positions 1 and 8 respectively and the winners of groups C and D will be drawn between positions 4 and 5; the runners up will be drawn into the remaining places, in opposite halves from the winners of the same groups.
When do we know the group stage draw?
The group draw will take place on Tuesday 5th November at 14:00 local time. The location for the draw shall be the Tokyo Gymnasium Hotel. This will be followed by a press conference.
The final stage draw or ‘main draw’ will also be held at the Tokyo Gymnasium, on Thursday 7th November after the conclusion of the group stages.
So, which are the stunning teams on show?
Every elite national team is bringing their exciting names for you to watch battle it out with the best of the best.
Just like these events being tests for the 2020 Olympic Games, the majority of qualified teams have gone with the line-ups we can expect to see in Tokyo next year.
As always, China will have their top athletes to defend their crown, however, 2018 ITTF Team World Cup winner Zhu Yuling doesn’t make the squad. Speaking of which, Japan led by the likes of Tomokazu Harimoto, Jun Miuztani, Mima Ito and Miu Hirano, will also want to push on from their powerful Asian Championship campaign and make full use of the home advantage for a shot at gold.
Runners up at the Pan American Championships, the United States will be further highly motivated at the women’s event after the stunning performances of Lily Zhang and Wu Yue at the Women’s World Cup last week. Will they be able to upset the narrative again and reach the quarter-finals?
Germany at the men’s event will showcase the likes of legendary Timo Boll, Patrick Franziska and former world no.1 Dimitrij Ovtcharov. Complementing them from Europe will be Romania in the women’s event led by Bernadette Szocs and Elizabeta Samara, fresh from their World Cup campaigns.
Additionally, Nigeria and Egypt will represent the African continent across both events, with Nigeria qualifying for the men’s event as 2018 African Champions and Egypt achieving the same for the women’s event. Can Dina Meshref and company rise to the occasion? Will Quadri Aruna be able to channel the champion spirit across to the knock-out stages?
For the complete schedule, click here.
How about the tickets?
You can find all the ticketing information right here: