The World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Series is the newest addition to the WTT calendar of events. It has attracted huge interest from National Associations across the globe, vying to host the new events, amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The WTT Youth Series will replace the ITTF World Junior Circuit, that has played a significant role in guiding some of today’s most eye-catching talents to the very top. The new system will be divided into two tiers- WTT Youth Contender and WTT Youth Star Contender. This alignment of the WTT Youth Series with the WTT Series creates a development pathway, from grassroots through to the senior and elite level.
The WTT Youth Contender series signals the start of the journey that opens the playing field to all young, up-and-coming athletes. A total of 27 events in this tier are scheduled to take place in 2021, starting on 6 May and running until 18 November. There is host city representation worldwide, ensuring that all rising stars have a chance to shine. Furthermore, several events have been grouped in nearby countries to enable players to participate in more events and to reduce travel-related costs.
The next level is the WTT Youth Star Contender series that will be reserved for the cream of the future crop, with performance and World Ranking points earned at the WTT Youth Contender events determining who qualifies for the next upper tier. Five Youth Star Contender events are set to take place in 2021, starting on 18 May in Tunisia before a run of European events culminates on 23 October in Poland.
WTT Youth Star Contender events will see increased prize money, with up to USD $17,000 on offer per event, in addition to high-level event production, playing conditions and sports presentation. 32 boys and 32 girls will line up in the singles categories as they look to state their intentions loud and clear to the table tennis world.
The vast majority of the WTT Youth series will include the following U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19 age categories, with the aim to increase inter-generation competitiveness and provide opportunities for more talented as well as fast-improving players to put their skills to the test against slightly older opponents. Each player can enter up to two singles competitions and one doubles competition, if the schedule permits.
Safety at the heart of event scheduling
During these times of global uncertainty, WTT is taking special measures to promote and maintain a safe environment.
Boys’ and girls’ events will take place separately, with a day off between the events, in order to reduce the number of participants on site, whilst mixed doubles and team competitions have been omitted from the schedule.
WTT will continue to work closely with local organisers to analyse the situation in each country.
Due to the ongoing travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, we will be revisiting the rules and ranking requirements together with the ITTF, in our willingness to RESTART youth events.
Please note that the calendar is subject to change due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. WTT strongly recommends that all participants make their travel plans closer to the event dates and make flexible and/or refundable travel plans.