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ITTF to expand World Championships

The International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF’s) board of directors has approved the expansion of its World Championships, with the event to now feature continental stages feeding into the finals.

The ITTF said the move will boost the sport’s global footprint and dramatically increase the number of member associations taking part in the tournaments.

The individual World Championships finals, which take place every odd year, will comprise a knockout phase of 128 for men’s and women’s singles, and 64 men’s, women’s and 128 mixed doubles pairs. The World Team Championships will have finals featuring 32 men’s and 32 women’s teams.

The make-up of the final stage will be decided upon at next year’s board of directors meeting in Budapest, Hungary, with the ITTF to work with experts and continental representation to come up with the proposals.

The proposal to expand the championships was put forward by the ITTF Future Events Working Group, which was established in 2016 under facilitation from professional services group Deloitte to review the format of the competition to ensure it meets the ITTF’s commercial, promotional and development goals.

In other news, the ITTF has awarded the 2020 edition of its World Junior Table Tennis Championships to Guimaraes in Portugal.