Who will host 2021 and 2022 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals
This year's World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest, Hungary, may only be little over one month away, but anticipation is already rising fast for the 2021 and 2022 editions, thanks to five countries providing the strongest ever competition to host table tennis' greatest annual event.
Historic scenes are in store for 2021 when, for the first time in 82 years, the World Championships Finals are guaranteed to be held outside of Asia and Europe, thus opening up doors for the sport to enter an exciting new market and providing confirmation of the very real globalisation of the game – one of the key goals behind the changes to the format approved in Halmstad last year.
Morocco (Agadir) and United States (Houston) have been shortlisted for the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, in which the greatest players on the planet will compete for the sport's major individual prizes on unchartered territory. The only previous occasion that neither Asia nor Europe staged the World Championships was back in 1939 when Cairo, Egypt, was the host city.
Crucially, the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals will be the first edition under the expanded format to ensure maximum participation of ITTF member National Associations, adding further to the unprecedented global appeal of what is shaping up to be an amazing event.
Completing the quintet of very strong bids, China (Chengdu), Japan (Kitakyushu) and Portugal (Lisbon) are vying to host the 2022 event, which will have the best 32 teams on the planet vying for the World Table Tennis Teams Championships title.
Now is a crucial time in the final evaluation process, as the ITTF has concluded site inspections in all five countries remaining in the hunt to host the final stage of the sport's biggest event of the respective calendar years.
Steve Dainton, ITTF CEO, stated:
"The quality of the final bids for 2021 and 2022 are extremely exciting and it's with great pride that in 2021 the World Championships Finals will be taking in a brand new market for the ITTF."
"This can only be fantastic news for table tennis globally. Last week, I was in Houston, which is an amazing sports city, and I have reports from colleagues that Morocco is also very excited to have the chance to host our biggest event, so what an intriguing race this will be for staging the 2021 World Championships Finals! The ITTF should and must be proud that it took some brave decisions last year in Halmstad which has therefore allowed us to have these bids."
"Then for 2022, we have Japan and China, two Asian power houses, bidding alongside an emerging European table tennis nation in Portugal. In my time at the ITTF I have never remembered 3 bids for the WTTC and again it proves our changes are bearing fruit."
"The site inspections in Kitakyushu, Chengdu and Lisbon were very positive and it will be interesting to see which of the three candidates will win the vote of trust at the AGM taking place this April in Budapest."
All five remaining candidates are invited to deliver their final bid presentation and all 226 National Associations for voting at the ITTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Budapest, Hungary, where a final decision on the hosts for the 2021 and 2022 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals will be made in April 2019.