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Budapest set to land 2019 ITTF Worlds

The Hungarian capital of Budapest appears set to land hosting rights for the 2019 individual World Table Tennis Championships after it was confirmed as the only city to submit a bid.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) made the announcement after its officials visited the SYMA events hall in Budapest, the prospective venue for the championships.

“We had inquiries from different countries from four continents, (but) by the deadline Budapest was the only valid bid received,” ITTF chief executive Judit Farago said.

“Some potential bidders finally decided to target the World Team Championships in 2020. Also the ITTF is having a transition period where the size of the World Championships is under review and reduced, which gives good chances for those organisers and cities which before could not accommodate such a big event.”

The amount of players competing at the team event will be reduced to around 550 from 800. “This is something new and not very well known to many,” Farago added. “It is now up to the Hungarian Table Tennis Association to made a good presentation to the AGM delegates and to convince them that the event may be allocated to them.”

Budapest’s bid ties in with the Hungarian government’s plans to host more major sporting events in the country. The city is also bidding to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and faces competition from the French capital of Paris, Los Angeles in the US and Rome, Italy.

Budapest will now present its bid to the ITTF AGM on March 1. Only China has won more World Championship gold medals than Hungary. The city has not hosted a table tennis World Championships since 1950 but is set to stage this year’s ITTF European Championships.

The individual and team Table Tennis World Championships take place in odd and even years respectively. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia will host this year’s team event from February 28 to March 6, with the German city of Dusseldorf staging the 2017 individual championships. The 2018 team event will take place in Halmstad, Sweden. Suzhou in China hosted last year’s individual tournament.