Table Tennis England secures major event for London for first time since 1950s
By Community | November 20, 2017
Table tennis will return to its roots next year when London hosts its first major event in the sport since the 1950s.
Since the International Table Tennis Federation was founded in the city in 1926, England has hosted only a handful of major table tennis-only events. Winning the rights to host the Team World Cup represents a major step for the sport and its governing body, Table Tennis England.
The event, which will take place at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in February, will mark a welcome return for table tennis to the the scene of the 2012 Olympics.
Sara Sutcliffe, CEO of Table Tennis England, believes that winning the rights to host the event needs to be viewed from an international perspective, given the sport’s huge global footprint.
She said: “Whilst we’re still growing the broadcast audience for table tennis in the UK, the Team World Cup is a huge deal internationally. It is expected to reach a global audience of 500 million households so this is a great example of us being able to host an event in a sport which may not yet have the exposure it deserves at home but which is huge around the world.
“Three hundred and fifty million people play table tennis in China and more than that number of Chinese tuned in for the Olympic tournament in Rio. The sport is a staple in Japan, Brazil, Germany, where the event will also be widely televised. It will be a reminder to people around the world that London is open for business and a great place for sport.”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, added: “London looks forward to welcoming the very best table tennis players and fans from around the globe to our world-class Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“I urge Londoners and visitors to take up this opportunity to see this elite tournament in one of our top venues. London is the sporting capital of the world and is building on the success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by creating new memories that last a lifetime.”
Thomas Weikert, President of the International Table Tennis Federation, said: “Everyone at the ITTF is excited about bringing one of our marquee events to the birthplace of table tennis – London.
“Table Tennis England are doing a fantastic job preparing this event, and we are sure that it is going to be a fantastic spectacle for all the fans in England and across the world.”