The Team World Cup 2018 is coming to London!
The ITTF has awarded hosting rights for the event – its second most prestigious tournament after the World Championships – to Table Tennis England.
It will be staged at the iconic Copper Box Arena on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, from February 22 to 25, 2018.
The world’s best players – including the Chinese and Japanese men’s teams which finished above England at the 2016 World Team Championships – will be showing their skills at the Copper Box Arena, which was dubbed ‘The Box That Rocks’ during London 2012 because of the amazing atmosphere produced by the crowds there.
England’s men have qualified by rights for the event by virtue of their bronze medal at the World Championships in 2016, while the women’s team will have a host-nation place.
A total of 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams will be competing. The rest of the field will comprise the six continental champions and the other top finishers at the 2016 World Championships.
England No 1 Paul Drinkhall, part of the 2016 World Championship bronze medal-winning squad said: “This will be an exciting event for English and British table tennis as a whole and it’s great to be hosting it when we will be a part of it because of our World Championships medal.
“It’s an amazing venue, iconic if you like, and it will be great to visit the Olympic Park. Hopefully we can put in some good performances and challenge the best in the world and make some more memories.”
Table Tennis England Chairman Sandra Deaton said: “This is fantastic news for table tennis in England and a vote of confidence from the ITTF. We can’t wait to host the event, giving our members and the wider sporting community the chance to see the greatest players in the world in action.
“We’re also delighted that our top players will get the chance to take on the likes of China and Japan in their own country, with the support of a passionate home crowd.
The fact that the iconic Copper Box Arena – a world-class venue, as proved during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – will stage the event makes it all the more exciting.” On the allocation of the event to London, ITTF President Thomas Weikert said: “London is a very special place for the ITTF, as it is where we were founded in 1926, and where we held our first World Championships in the same year. It is great to be bringing world class table tennis back to this city, for this reason and because of the massive success of the London 2012 table tennis event.”
Chris Miles, Copper Box Arena Event Manager, said: “All the team at the unique Copper Box Arena are excited to host this prestigious event. As part of the UK’s largest leisure social enterprise, GLL, we aim to inspire and help more people get more active more often. Hosting global championships like these help us achieve that aim while providing a world-class facility for the event.”
The event will run from February 22 to 25 and will kick-off a busy period of top-level competition for the England team, with the Commonwealth Games in Australia from April 4 to 15 and the World Team Championships in Sweden at the end of April.
England hosted the individual Men’s World Cup at Liverpool in 2012 but this will be the first major table tennis-only event to be staged in London since the 1954 World Championships at Wembley.
Since then, England has also hosted the World Championships in Birmingham in 1977 and Manchester in 1997.
Table Tennis England will be recruiting a team of volunteers for the event – details will be released soon.
Full ticketing information and pricing will also be available in the coming weeks.