The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has said it has received an unprecedented amount of interest in hosting the newly-reformed World Table Tennis Championships Finals of 2021 and 2022.
The declaration of interest phase for the two championships closed on Sept. 30.
The 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals will be the first edition under the expansion of the World Championships to ensure maximum participation of ITTF member-National Associations.
The concept was approved at the 2018 Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting in Halmstad, Sweden.
For the two World Championships, a total of 13 countries from every continent have officially registered their interest.
Eight countries � Australia, Chile, Germany, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Tunisia and the U.S. � have expressed their interest to host the 2021 edition.
Chile, Germany, Morocco, Puerto Rico and Tunisia also expressed interest for the 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals, together with China, Japan, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
There were also expressions of interest received from Africa (Morocco and Tunisia), Pan America (Chile, Puerto Rico and the U.S.) and Oceania (Australia).
It meant also that they are in the running to host the second only World Table Tennis Championships to be held outside of Asia and Europe.
The first and only one was held at Cairo, Egypt in 1939.
When we went through the study of the World Championships, it was the fact that it was harder and harder to find hosts that was one of the key reasons to encourage the change.
I do not think any of us could ever imagine 13 countries showing official interest. But, with the change, we can all be proud that it shows we can take the biggest table tennis event on earth to all corners of the globe.
Eight official expressions of interest were from countries that have never hosted before. It once again proves that changes to the structure, rather than rules, need to be our focus in the next years � it's really unbelievable,'' ITTF's Chief Executive Officer Steve Dainton said.
Following the closing of the interest phase, the interested cities will have to submit their detailed bids and commitment to bid before Dec. 31.
The ITTF Selection Panel will then analyse the bids and conduct inspections in January and February.
The bidders will be invited to present their final bid book to the ITTF and all National Associations for voting at the ITTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Budapest, Hungary.
There, a final decision on the 2021 and 2022 World Championships hosts will be made in April 2019
Source: Voice of Nigeria