The PERFECT 2016 World Team TT Championships starts: 670 participants from 99 countries play in Kuala LumpurPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
Championship will be held from February 28th to March 6th, as both national teams of China fight for their 20th titles in total. German team is no. 2 seed in the men`s event, while Netherlands occupies no. 3 in the women`s one
The PERFECT 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championship starts in the first hours of Sunday (CET time), gathering 670 participants from 99 countries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They will fight in Malawati Shah Alam Stadium (Capacity 13.000) in the next eight days, five months prior the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
With over 500 accredited media on site, the 54th edition of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships will be one of the most followed table tennis event in history.
China defends both titles. Men`s side beat Germany 3:1 two years ago at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo, while women`s team overcame Japan in straight games.
The best ranked European side in men`s tournament will be again Germany, but now without Dimitrij OVTCHAROV who was forced to withdraw due to injury. Current individual champion of Old Continent beat actual Olympic champion ZHANG Jike in the China – Germany final match two years ago. Timo BOLL is ready to lead again his side, accompanied with Bastian STEGER, Ruwen FILUS, Patrick FRANZISKA and Stefan MENGEL.
Reigning champions and top seed emerges with individual world champion MA Long, XU Xin, FAN Zhendong, ZHANG Jike and FANG Bo. Japan is no. 3 seed, having Jun MIZUTANI, Koki NIWA, Yuya OSHIMA, Mahary YOSHIMURA and Kenta MATSUDAIRA. Europe will be represented with four more teams in the Top 10 seeds: 2014 European champion Portugal (no. 5), 2015 ECH winner Austria (no. 5), Sweden (no. 8) and France (no. 9).
Regarding women`s event, all experts predict reprise of the gold medal clash from 2014 WCH, when China met Japan. Chinese national team will be lead by world`s no. 1 LIU Shiwen, supported by DING Ning, ZHU Yuling, CHEN Meng and LI Xiaoxia. It seems like Japan has better team than in previous edition: Ai FUKUHARA, Kasumi ISHIKAWA, Mima ITO, Misako WAKAMIYA, Yui HAMAMOTO. Netherlands is posted on the 3rd place at the seeding list, with LI Jie, LI Jiao, Britt EERLAND and Elena TIMINA. Actual European champion Germany is no. 7, while Romania starts as no. 10.
China men`s team plays for 8th consecutive title. The last time they were no champions in 2000 Kuala Lumpur, when Sweden beat them in the epic final. If they take the trophy on March 6th, it would be their 20th crown in total, since they did it for the very first time in Beijing 1961.
The same number of titles is the goal of women`s team which took its first in 1965 Ljubljana. In last four decades China women`s team have lost the title just twice (1991 Chiba City – South Korea winner, and 2010 Moscow – Singapore winner).
All teams oldest / youngest
• Oldest men's team: Pakistan - average age 40.44 (74th Seed, WR82, Division 4)
• Oldest women's team: Netherlands - average age 35.95 (3rd Seed, WR3 Championship
• Youngest men's team: United Arab Emirates - average age 15.92 (88th Seed, WR116,
• Youngest women's team: Azerbaijan - average age 16.26 (70th Seed, WR83, Division 3)
• Youngest male player: Ylyas ALLANAZAROV, TKM - 7.76 years
• Youngest female player: Aishath NAZIM MDV - 12.73 years
Championship division oldest / youngest
• Oldest men's team: Greece - average age 33.18 (15th seed, WR15)
• Youngest men's team: Malaysia - average age 20.26 (24th seed, WR56)
• Oldest women's team: Netherlands - average age 35.95 (3rd seed, WR3)
• Youngest women's team: Malaysia - average age 20.32 (24th seed, WR43)
• The World Teams Championships began in 1926 along with the individual event, but only the men participated in the team event. Women's team championships was added from 1934 onwards.
• 2016 will be the 54th time the World Table Tennis Championships have been held.
• Vladimir SAMSONOV will play his 20th WTTC, this means he is now 2nd in number of WTTC's played, behind Jean-Michel SAIVE (24 times).
• Malaysia has hosted the World Team Championships on 1 previous occasion, in 2000 when Sweden took out China in the men's final. China overcame Chinese Taipei in the women's final.
•Team Sweden claimed Gold at the 2000 World Team Championships against Team China. This was the last time the WTTTC was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Swaythling Cup - Men’s Team
The Swaythling Cup is presented to the winners of the Men’s Team Event at each World Team Table Tennis Championships. The Cup was donated in 1926 by Lady Baroness Swaythling, the mother of Ivor Montagu, who was the first ITTF President and remained in that role for record 41 years. The first winners of the Swaythling Cup was Hungary who were triumphant in London 1926 and won the first 5 editions of the competition before the Czechoslovaks beat them in 1932 in Prague.
Corbillon Cup - Women’s Team
President of the French Table Tennis Association Marcel Corbillon donated the Corbillon Cup in Paris 1933 prior to the Women’s Team event being held for the first time at the 1934 World Championships. The original Cup disappeared during the early days of the Berlin occupation after World War II but the German Table Tennis Federation ended up arranging an exact replica in 1949. Germany were the first winners of the Women`s Team event in 1934.