With the spread of COVID-19 across different parts of the world, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is prioritising the health and safety of all players, coaches, officials and fans.
This has already led to decisions to suspend all ITTF events and activities until the end of April 2020, to postpone the Hana Bank 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships and also the ITTF World Tour Platinum Japan Open.
In view of the pandemic, the ITTF Executive Committee met on Monday 16th March, resulting in the following key outcomes:
- The ITTF Executive Committee reconfirms that all ITTF events and activities are suspended until the end of April 2020.
- On Sunday 29th March 2020, the ITTF Executive Committee will meet again to evaluate the situation and to consider if the suspension of all ITTF events and activities needs to be extended or not.
- The ITTF Executive Committee, together with Ryu Seungmin, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Hana Bank 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan, Korea Republic, agrees that, given the increasing severity of the crisis worldwide, the provisional dates of 21-28 June 2020 may come too soon and therefore further back-up plans will be made to hold the event towards the end of the year, in the case it is needed to postpone further.
- The ITTF will consider potential options regarding the qualifying pathway for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, given that the qualifying events which had been scheduled for April 2020 will no longer take place as planned. Ideas will be discussed with the Continental Federations, the ITTF Athletes Commission and finally proposed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a joint decision. Options discussed include adding the Continental Events to the World Singles Qualification Event or another event closer to the Olympic Games, or using the World Ranking at a date to be decided. The ITTF is in close contact with the IOC on this matter and, similarly, the ITTF is in touch with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Athletes Commission in all related to the Paralympic Games pathway.
The ITTF will provide further updates on all upcoming decisions in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the international table tennis event schedule.