World Table Tennis (WTT) is excited to announce that Doha, Qatar will host the WTT Middle East Hub, with two events to take place consecutively at the Lusail Sports Arena between 3 March – 13 March 2021.
The brand-new series of events now become reality with WTT designed to revolutionize the sport. Players and fans are being positioned at the core of WTT’s mission to drive table tennis into the future.
MIDDLE EAST HUB – MAJOR DATES IN DOHA BROUGHT FORWARD
The Middle East Hub will feature two tiers of the new WTT event structure. A WTT Contender event will get the 2021 calendar underway before players move to the first WTT Star Contender event the following week, providing the perfect setting for some of the world’s leading stars to be challenged by the best up-and-coming athletes in table tennis.
The cancellation of the postponed 2020 World Table Tennis Championships that were to be held in Busan, has also provided WTT with the opportunity to move the Middle East Hub forward from its previously announced dates, granting players a chance to compete at WTT events earlier than originally planned. The confirmed dates of the individual events are:
WTT Contender – Wednesday 3 March – Saturday 6 March 2021
WTT Star Contender – Monday 8 March – Saturday 13 March 2021
The proposed Hub format will create the best possible environment for WTT Series events to be held, ensuring better logistics for meeting COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and a manageable travel schedule for players. This format has been created based on both ITTF and WTT’s recent successes of player and staff health and welfare at #RESTART and WTT Macao.
QATAR COMMITTED TO WORLD TABLE TENNIS FUTURE
Qatar enjoys a significant and longstanding association with table tennis, with the President of the Qatar Table Tennis Association (QTTA) and ITTF Deputy President, Khalil Al-Mohannadi spearheading the nation’s contributions to the sport.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open, one of the most prestigious events on the ITTF calendar, consistently attracting the world’s best players and offering among the highest prize money on the tour.
Qatar will continue to play a key role in the future of the sport, as the nation prepares to host the first-ever WTT Hub after committing to payment of the full WTT hosting fee and ensuring the events will be delivered in line with ITTF/WTT Covid-19 Protocols.
“We are honoured to be hosting the first-ever WTT events in Qatar. We have made many special table tennis memories over the years and we cannot wait to kick off the WTT era on our shores. This confirms Doha as a truly global sports hub and demonstrates the QTTA’s commitment to establishing WTT.” – Khalil Al-Mohannadi, QTTA President and ITTF Deputy President
“Congratulations to Doha upon becoming the host of the WTT Middle East Hub. As one of the most established host cities on the international table tennis circuit, Doha is certain to bring the first WTT events of the year to life.” – Liu Guoliang, WTT Council Chair and CTTA President
WTT CONFIRMS ADDITIONAL PRIZE MONEY FOR MIDDLE EAST HUB
The new table tennis era also heralds a landmark moment for the sport with all event prize money funded and paid to players exclusively by WTT.
To launch the WTT era, the WTT Board has approved the prize money levels for the Middle East Hub, with these two events offering a combined prize pool of USD 600K.
“We have made no secret about our desire to take table tennis to the next level through WTT. It is exciting that Doha is set to continue delivering world-class WTT events. We realize it will be another impacted year in 2021 with a limited number of events, however, the additional prize money for Doha shows we will deliver on our promise and proves how we at the ITTF and WTT are motivated to grow prize money for the most important stakeholder in our sport – the athletes.” – Steve Dainton, WTT Director, and ITTF CEO