This week, the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) announced that the 2022 World Team Championships will take place from April 17 to 26 in the city of Chengdu.
In a pandemic scenario of so many uncertainties, I think it’s important for the ITTF to put the Team World Championship on the calendar. This signals that the entity wants to keep the “sports wheel” turning and is concerned with athletes, managers and the entire table tennis community. With a defined date, the parties involved have the opportunity to prepare and make eventual adjustments to the route. Although there may be many changes along the way, as the last 2 years have shown us.
ITTF President Petra Sorling commented: “In these uncertain times, we are grateful to our hosts, who have taken the necessary steps to ensure that this iconic event of ours is held. The table tennis family looks forward to a full year of action, after a successful 2021 finale that heralded the sport’s international restart.” Indeed, late 2021 saw the holding of major table tennis tournaments such as the World Championships in Houston and the WTT Finals in Singapore – which kept the sport in the spotlight and athletes active on the international stage. It is worth remembering that both events saw an excellent performance by Hugo Calderano. The current number 4 in the world finished in the top 8 at the Worlds in Houston and in the top 4 at the WTT Finals.
Last Team World Cup took place 4 years ago
The Team World Championship that was scheduled for 2020 in Busan, South Korea has been canceled due to Covid. That is, the last edition took place in 2018 – 4 years ago – in Halmstad, Sweden. On that occasion, the men’s podium was as follows: 1. China 2. Germany 3. South Korea and Sweden (there is no bronze dispute). The team from Brazil, with Hugo Calderano, Gustavo Tsuboi, Victor Ishiy and Eric Jouti did well and finished in the top 8. Not by chance, this same team competed in Tokyo-2020 and also reached the quarter-finals, when they lost to South Korea.
In the women’s, the podium at the World Championships in 2018 was like this: 1. China 2. Japan 3. Hong Kong and Unified Korea. In fact, one of the headlines of the tournament was the decision of North and South Korea, who would face each other in the quarter-finals, to form a single team. In a way, a re-edition of the 1991 Chiba World Cup, but this time the unified team stopped in the semifinals. The Brazilians finished in 20th position, with Gui Lin, Bruna Takahashi, Caroline Kumahara and Jessica Yamada.
World Team Championships in even years, World Singles and Doubles in odd years
Another curiosity is that there were not always separate editions of World Championships. The first Team World Cup took place in 2000 in Malaysia. The following year in Japan, the edition was still complete, with the holding of events by teams + individual + doubles. But from 2003, the odd-numbered years began to include singles and doubles; and pairs, team competition.
Anyway, let the Team Worlds come in 2022 so we can keep talking about table tennis!