From 4 to 10 December 2023, the world’s table tennis elite will gather at the Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China, the very arena that hosted the ITTF Men’s World Cup 2019 and the ITTF Women’s World Cup 2019. This venue will once again bear witness to remarkable sporting feats.
In a pioneering move, the ITTF is infusing the competition with a dynamic mixed team system, merging men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events. This groundbreaking concept not only champions gender equality and diversity but also emphasises the spirit of collaboration and teamwork in the sport.
In this edition of the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup, teams will consist of 3 or 4 men’s and women’s players each, creating a dynamic blend of talents at the table. The order of play adds a unique twist to the competition:
- Mixed Doubles
- Women’s Singles (with players not participating in mixed doubles)
- Men’s Singles (with players not participating in mixed doubles)
- Women’s Doubles/Men’s Doubles (if needed)
- Men’s Doubles/Women’s Doubles (if needed)
The order of play for the last two matches will be determined before the match by the team captain of the lower-ranked team, adding a strategic and suspenseful element to each encounter. Each individual match within a team match shall consist of 3 games (resulting in a 3-0 or 2-1 score), and team matches will be played until one team accumulates 8 games to secure victory.
Anticipating this momentous occasion, ITTF President Petra Sörling reflected on the significance of the event, saying, ” Over four remarkable decades, the ITTF Worlds Cup has been an integral part of table tennis, shaping its story. The historical importance of this event in the context of ITTF’s journey reflects a heritage that will continue to guide the future of our sport. Now, by unifying men’s and women’s team events, the ITTF is trailblazing a pathway that champions gender equality, diversity, and the collaborative essence of teamwork. As the President of the Federation, I am deeply honoured to inaugurate this new chapter in the history of our beloved sport, building upon the enduring legacy of the ITTF World Cups.”
The revival of the World Cup pays homage to the ITTF’s illustrious history as it approaches its centenary year and showcases its dedication to pushing the boundaries of the sport. In addition to the thrilling competition and the innovative format, the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 offers an impressive prize pool of $800,000 USD, sure to motivate players to deliver their finest performances on the world stage. The stakes are high, and the rewards are substantial, making this event a must-watch for fans and an absolute must-participate for athletes.
Liu Guoliang, Deputy President of the ITTF, expressed his excitement for the event, highlighting Chengdu’s passionate fanbase and the electric atmosphere that awaits. He stated, “We extend a warm invitation to global table tennis stars to join us in Chengdu, a region with a deep-rooted table tennis culture. The city’s fans are known for their enthusiasm and unwavering support, creating an extraordinary atmosphere. Chengdu is no stranger to hosting memorable events such as the ITTF World Championships Finals in 2022, and the upcoming ITTF Mixed Team World Cup promises to be another thrilling spectacle. It’s not just a competition; it’s a celebration of our sport.”
On 26 August 2023, Chengdu was selected as the host city for the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 for a consecutive five-year term (2023-2027).
Steve Dainton, ITTF Group CEO, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited to introduce this exciting new format to the world. We are still fine-tuning the event format, working closely with all parties. We look forward to sharing more information soon as we approach this monumental event in Chengdu, China.”
As the countdown to December begins, the table tennis community, both fans and athletes, can anticipate an event that not only honours tradition but also heralds a thrilling level of table tennis excellence. Stay tuned for more updates as we draw closer to the ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 in Chengdu.