Mizutani Jun (L, top) and Ito Mima (R, top) of Japan compete against Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha of China in the mixed doubles final of the 2020 ITTF Qatar Open on March 7, 2020. (Photo by Nikku/Xinhua)
The Middle East, China and Europe will stage three World Table Tennis (WTT) events in 2021 before the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- World Table Tennis (WTT) Friday announced the first half of the 2021 WTT calendar, including three separate "Hubs" to be staged in the Middle East, China and Europe.
The WTT expected to mark the dawn of an exciting new era for the sport in 2021. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the table tennis organization is rearranging its inaugural event calendar.
The first hub in the Middle East will be staged between March 17 and April 3, 2021, followed by those in China from April 13 to May 16, and in Europe from May 27 to June 20.
"2021 is a landmark year for the sport and we remain committed to offering our fans, both old and new, the opportunity to watch world-class table tennis that is refreshed, re-energized and redefined," said Stephen Duckitt, WTT Event Strategy Director.
The China hub will feature the first Grand Smash, the top tier in professional table tennis.
The WTT Champions Series will also see players battling for prize money and ranking points in their attempt to reach the WTT Cup Finals.
The hubs in the Middle East and Europe will focus on the WTT Contender Series events, providing the platform for up and coming prospects to contend with some of the world's prominent names.
Following the three hubs, the WTT calendar will take a break to accommodate the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games. After the Olympics, the WTT hopes to return to a modified calendar of events.
The WTT event structure features Grand Smash, WTT Cup Finals, WTT Champions, WTT Star Contender and WTT Contender events.
The WTT announced earlier this month that the WTT Macao promotional showcase will be staged between November 25 and 29, representing the first tournament to be held since the organization's establishment. ■