ITTF mulls over cancelling individual World Championships as Grand Smashes approach

BEIJING (XINHUA) – The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) CEO Steve Dainton revealed on Sunday that the world table tennis’ governing body is considering individual World Championships cancellation.

The move is relevant to a possible busy schedule in the future as the newly-established World Table Tennis (WTT) plans to have three to four “Grand Smashes” every year.

“These events (Grand Smashes) will be equal to or larger than a World Individual Championships. With three to four ‘Grand Smashes’ per year, we would be overstretching and confusing the calendar and market if we also have a World Individual Championships,” Dainton wrote in his letter, called A message of hope, to all table tennis stakeholders.

“The three to four major events held on the International stage throughout each year will reach a larger audience and will perform much better than once every two years. From these events, we would also be able to define an individual world champion,” he added.

Starting in 2003, individual events for table tennis World Championships have been held in odd years, while team events in even years.

The ITTF announced in March that the WTT will introduce a brand new event structure in 2021. As planned, there are up to four Grand Smashes every year with a 10-day span for each tournament, featuring the top 64 men and top 64 women players.

Also in the structure are WTT Champions Series, WTT Cup Finals, the Star Contender and Contender Series.

For Dainton, “this approach would allow for a clearer line to be drawn for each of the platforms.”

“The World Team Championships and the Olympic Games, with the team competition as a key component, will remain under the responsibility of the federations, while the professional platform can focus on the growth of the individual events, allowing our sport to pursue the real table tennis stars in the future,” he mentioned.

International Table Tennis Federation CEO Steve Dainton. PHOTO: XINHUA