ITTF Confirms 12 Host Cities for 2019 ITTF World Tour
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed the 12 host cities for the 2019 ITTF World Tour.
The ITTF World Tour is the highest level professional tour for table tennis athletes around the world, and is split into two tiers, six ITTF World Tour Platinum events (top tier) and six ITTF World Tour events.
The six ITTF World Tour Platinum events will have higher prize money, and be of a higher level of presentation, which will ensure the attendance of the world's best players and more TV distribution.
On the announcement, ITTF Head of World Tour Vicky ELEFTHERIADE stated "The ITTF World Tour has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, especially after the rebranding in 2017, and with the support from our title sponsor Seamaster. We are pleased to see more interest in the World Tour from hosts and other partners each year, and we will continue to push the tour forward to ensure growth in terms of popularity and commercially."
The 12 host cities were chosen out of 16 bidding cities, with Japan upgrading from a regular event in 2018 to a Platinum event in 2019 in Sapporo in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The six cities that have won the hosting rights for the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum events are:
- Doha (QAT) : 26 – 31 Mar 2019
- Shenzhen (CHN) : 28 May – 2 Jun 2019
- Sapporo (JPN) : 12 – 16 Jun 2019
- Geelong (AUS) : 09 – 14 Jul 2019
- Bremen (GER) : 08 – 13 Oct 2019
- Linz (AUT) : 12 – 17 Nov 2019
The six host cities for the ITTF World Tour events are:
- Budapest (HUN) : 22 – 27 Jan 2019
- Hong Kong (HKG) : 04 – 09 Jun 2019
- TBC (KOR) : 02 – 07 Jul 2019
- Panagyurishte (BUL) : 13 – 18 Aug 2019
- Olomouc (CZE) : 20 – 25 Aug 2019
- Stockholm (SWE) : 01 – 06 Oct 2019
The 12 2019 ITTF World Tour events will all offer World Tour Ranking points that will be used to determine the top 16 players in Singles & top 8 doubles pairs who will qualify for the year-ending World Tour Grand Finals from 12 – 15 December 2019 in a city to be determined.
The bids for the ITTF Challenge Series, the ITTF's development tour for up and rising stars of the sport to challenge themselves and earn international recognition and experience, will be coming out soon.
The Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour is now in full swing, with three events - Hungarian Open, Qatar Open (Platinum) and German Open (Platinum) organized in the first quarter of 2018. The ITTF World Tour continues action in Hong Kong from 24 – 27 May, after the biggest table tennis event on Earth, the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden from 29 April to 6 May 2018.