Singapore will be the third and final leg of the 2019 T2 Diamond Table Tennis League from Nov 28 to Dec 1, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and T2 announced yesterday.
The second edition of the series will be the most high-profile international table tennis event staged in Singapore since the Women’s World Cup in 2011.
The ITTF cited Singapore’s “location, accessibility and reputable city image”, and “state-of-the art integrated sports entertainment facilities” as reasons it was selected.
Johor Baru, Malaysia (July 18-21) and Haikou, China (Sept 26-29) were named the other two host cities for this year’s series, which will offer world ranking points to players.
Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) chief executive officer Wong Hui Leng said the association was “excited” that the event is coming to Singapore.
“This professional table tennis platform will definitely increase fan and media interest,” she said.
“The STTA is keen to explore possible collaborations with T2 to raise the level of the sport (here), and the profile of our players globally.”
While T2 did not say where the competition venue in Singapore would be, it stated in its media statement that each host is allowed to select one male and one female player for its leg of the series.
In the inaugural edition in 2017, Feng Tianwei was Singapore’s only representative.
She made it all the way to the final, where she lost to Romania’s Bernadette Szocs.
When asked if the STTA had a strategy to select the two “host” slots, Wong said they would seek more information from T2 before making any nominations.
This year’s T2 Diamond series will feature 32 of the world’s best players for a combined prize purse of US$1.5 million (S$2.03 million).
Jeff Chue, T2 CEO and commissioner, said: “We are ecstatic with the level of interest from distinctive partners and cities, and would like to acknowledge their creative vision and collaborative passion to develop the event within their existing local ecosystem.
“We want this to be a revolutionary chapter in T2 history and we are pleased to have Johor Baru, Haikou and Singapore to be a part of that.”
Last year, the ITTF and T2 inked a deal for the latter to be a test bed in 2019 and 2020 for the world federation’s new competition structure from 2021.
Said ITTF CEO Steve Dainton: “We hope to see that the T2 model will prove to the market how best to commercialise table tennis.
“At the ITTF, we are flexible and open to new ideas of taking the sport to a new level and success for the T2 events would demonstrate that there is a much better chance for table tennis to grow as fast as we’d like.”