(by Steve Hopkins)
The ITTF tournament calendar continues to look pretty bleak for 2020. There will be no events in July, and five of six August events have been postponed. Its that last word that is of note here, however – POSTPONED. Many events that could not occur have been postponed instead of cancelled. That means 2020 may finish with a flurry of exciting events – perhaps one major event a week that extends all through December and into early 2021.
The latest casualty of COVID-19 was the Team World Cup which was to be held this year in Busan, South Korea. Last week the ITTF announced that the event, which is normally held every other year, will be moved to 2021. With the Olympic Games set for next year in Tokyo, and the individual World Cup set for Houston next June, it now looks like we’ll have a 2021 packed with major table tennis events. Add in the normal tour calendar, some overflow events that couldn’t fit into the end of 2020, and some of the qualifying events for Tokyo that must occur and 2021 is quickly shaping up to be the biggest year in memory for table tennis events.
Much of Europe and Asia are a little ahead of the US in regard to local table tennis restarting. But worldwide, small events are now beginning to appear. As the world moves forward, the ITTF tour will restart as well. Once the restart does occur, fans will have a packed schedule of events extending through to the end of 2021 and including three major non-annual events all converging into one big year.