(by Steve Hopkins)
Last week it was announced that the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships will be held, as originally planned, in Houston, Texas. Originally, the event was to be held before the Olympics, but this is another event where organizers and players have had to be flexible due to the Pandemic.
The event will be held from November 23-29. That means, this will start on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and run through the weekend. This is the first time that a World Championship will be held in the US.
There are many interesting story lines that correspond the this selection. Texas is one of the American States that has fully reopened following the Pandemic and the population has already reached 20% vaccination level – so with seven months to go, there’s every reason to believe that Houston will be ready to go. This World Championships is also 50 years after Ping Pong Diplomacy – and China will be hosting the Team Championships in 2022, so we are likely to hear a lot about the ties between our two countries. The World Championships should just the tip of the table tennis ice berg as the US is set to host the Olympics in 2028 – and while we still have Tokyo this summer and Paris in 2024, some great table tennis in the US is on the horizon and we can expect to see other tour events here over the next 6 years.
The schedule for US table tennis fans will be interesting – with some other tournaments and events often scheduled for that week and the holiday itself. That said, many of us would be keeping up with the World Championships regardless of where it was played – and having it in the US means watching it live instead of on tape delay (or in the middle of the night).