The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced that Ekaterinburg in Russia, Busan in Korea and the US city of San Jose have expressed an interest in staging its 2020 World Team Championships.
Should San Jose be selected as host it would mark only the second time that an ITTF World Championship event has been held outside Asia and Europe. The Egyptian capital of Cairo was the first non-Asian or European city to play host back in 1939.
North America has, however, staged the two most recent editions of the ITTF Women’s World Cup, with Philadelphia in the US hosting in 2016 and Markham in Canada staging the 2017 event last month.
The World Team Championships are held in even-numbered years, with the individual championships staged in odd-numbered years. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia hosted the most recent edition of the team event in 2016, while Halmstad in Sweden is scheduled to stage the 2018 event. The German city of Dusseldorf staged this year’s individual championships, the next edition of which will take place in Budapest, Hungary in 2019.
ITTF president Thomas Weikert said: “Having three cities showing strong interest is a clear sign that the new ITTF management’s hard work is paying off and is well supported around the world. We have been promoting the benefits of hosting the world’s biggest table tennis event more strongly, as well as looking at how to make the event more successful to ensure its long future.
“All of this on the back of one of the best ever World Championships this year in Germany shows that the ITTF is performing better than ever before and we are so happy to have three fantastic cities keen to host the World Championships.”
The bids of Ekaterinburg, Busan and San Jose will now be analysed by the ITTF selection panel and inspections will be held during the bid phase, which closes on February 1, 2018.
The final shortlist will be decided on February 15, with the shortlisted bidders to present their final proposal to the ITTF and all national associations during the ITTF Annual General Meeting in Halmstad on May 1, when hosting rights will be awarded.