(by Steve Hopkins)
A year ago, ITTF events started up in late January after the holiday break and that first month hit the ground running with three events – including the German Open. The 2020 Calendar then listed 14 February events, 10 March events, and 13 April events.
The 2021 Calendar is filling slowly, as tournament organizers wait to see how COVID outbreaks and vaccine dissemination affects the ability to travel and compete safely. Currently, there are no events set for January and the lone event in February is a WTT event in Doha, Qatar on Feb 28.
There are four events scheduled for March. There are two additional events planned in Doha: a second WTT event and a World Olympic Qualification event. Two events are also planned in Cuba: the Caribbean Senior Championships and the Caribbean Teams Qualification event for the Pan American Junior Games.
Three events are planned for April – all are planned by the Latin American Region with the Central American Junior & Cadet Championships, the South American Championships, and the South American Teams Qualification events for the Pan American Junior Games.
The first European event currently scheduled for 2021 is the Europe Top 16 Cup on May 22 (in Montreux, Switzerland). The first Asian event currently on the Calendar is the Olympic Games this July.
Expect to see additional events added in the coming weeks. At this point, it looks as though the first half of the year may start slowly – with carefully executed events in safety “bubbles” leading up to the Olympics. But after the Olympics this Summer, expect to see a flurry of tour and open events scheduled.
Check the ITTF 2021 Event Calendar for the latest updates.