(ATR) Table tennis world championships will head to the U.S. for the first time. Houston, Texas is the choice of the International Table Tennis Federation for the 2021 event.
Delegations from USA and China at the ITTF's AGM in Budapest.
Agadir, Morocco was the only other bidder.
Chengdu was the winner for 2022 over bids from Portugal and Japan.
The U.S. and Chinese formed an alliance to support each other’s bid for the championship. That included a joint reception over the weekend in Budapest where the ITTF is meeting and holding the 2019 world championships.
The U.S. bid invoked the legacy of the ping pong diplomacy that in 1971 led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. The 2021 world championships will take place on the 50th anniversary of those friendly matches.
The decision to go to Houston marks the first time in 82 years the event will be held outside of Asia or Europe. In 1939 Cairo hosted the only edition in Africa.
The 2021 world championships will be the first to be held under an expanded format to allow more national associations to participate. The ITTF includes 226 member associations. At the 2019 event in Budapest, there are competitors from 109 nations.
The ITTF says the U.S. provides an opportunity for the championships to expand to a new market and aid globalization of table tennis.
“I would like to thank all nations who bid to host our biggest annual event. It was fantastic to see so many high-level bids from a great range of countries. We noticed raised interest in hosting the World Championships Finals, due to the expansion of the competition from 2021, which adds even more value and prestige,” says ITTF CEO Stave Dainton in a press release.
The Budapest world champs run through April 28 at the Hungexpo Budapest Fair Center.
Written by Greer Wilson.
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