by Kabir Nagpal
Overall a total of 20 male athletes will compete.
When and where is the Men’s World Cup happening?
A familiar destination, Chengdu is the home for next week’s Chengdu Airlines 2019 ITTF Men’s World Cup.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Chengdu Airlines back on board for one of our most prestigious events of the year. The city of Chengdu is familiar territory for top ITTF events and therefore it is fitting that we partner with a locally headquartered, yet nationwide respected company in Chengdu Airlines.” – Kimberly Koh, ITTF Head of Sponsorship
Played over a three day period, intense action and high quality matches from start to finish await. There are no quiet introductions. Thus their 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.
The venue for the proceedings is the Sichuan Province Gymnasium, where last month’s Uncle Pop 2019 Women’s World Cup was held; the total prize fund is US$ 250,000: for the winner US$ 60,000 and for the runner up US$ 40,000.
What are the qualification and playing systems?
A total of 20 players qualify for the World Cup, with the current World Champion automatically qualifying; 18 additional players have qualified through their Continental Cup campaigns.
In addition, the ITTF selects a Wild Card direct entry to complete the field of 20 players, with the ruling being that there cannot be more than two players from an association.
For the complete qualification system, click here.
As for the order of play, seeding is completed according to the latest available November World Rankings. The overall tournament consists of two stages – preliminary stage and the main draw.
In the first stage, the players ranked from no.9 to no.20 (12 players) are drawn in four equal groups of three players, all the members of a group playing each other. Players ranked 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th will be in groups A, B, C and D respectively. Players ranked 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th will be drawn randomly into the second position of each preliminary group. Likewise, the remaining players ranked 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th will be drawn randomly into the third and last position in each preliminary group.
If in case of there being two players from the same association, they will be drawn into separate groups. Next, the top two finishers of each preliminary group will join the top eight seeded players in the second stage of the competition.
Here is when things become interesting as the main draw of the competition consists of a knock-out draw. For the complete technical details of the draw, click here.
When do we know the group stage draw?
The first stage draw of groups will take place on Thursday 28th November at 4.00 pm (local time). The location for the draw followed by a press conference is the Sichuan Jinjiang Hotel.
Later, the final stage draw or “main draw” will be held at the Sichuan Province Gymnasium on Friday 29th November at 6.00 pm (local time), after the conclusion of the group stages.
Who are the star athletes on show?
After an enthralling 2019, there are some exciting names for you to look forward to see battle it out for the Men’s World Cup trophy.
Ma Long, who won in 2012 and 2015, qualifies as the World Champion as do seven players from the Lion 32nd ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup, an event in which Fan Zhendong beat Ma Long in the final. Japan’s Koki Niwa, Tomokazu Harimoto, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting all book their places as a result of their efforts in Yokohama.
Joining them is the 2019 ITTF African Cup winner Omar Assar from Egypt, who missed out on last year’s edition. The continental champion from Europe is Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov who won the tournament in 2017. He will be joined by his compatriot and double World Cup winner (2002, 2005) Timo Boll. The third place finisher at the 2019 Europe Top 16 Cup, Belarussian veteran Vladimir Samsonov will want to add to his three World Cups (1999, 2001, 2009) as well as three bronze (1996, 1997, 2012) and one silver medal (2013) finishes.
The Pan American Cup winner from Brazil, Hugo Calderano will have support from Kanak Jha of the United States; finally, the Oceania Cup champion from Australia, Heming Hu comes to Chengdu with purpose and not just to add up the numbers.
For the complete players’ list click here.
How will the event proceed?
The tournament consists of two stages, the first stage being round-robin group matches; this will be followed by the final stage which will be a knock-out draw of 16 players.
For the complete schedule, click here.
How about the tickets?
You can find all the ticketing information right here: