World-class table tennis will arrive in Manchester when England stages its first ever WTT event from 1 – 4 February 2024.
The WTT Feeder Series event will be held at the National Cycling Centre (inset in above photo) in a partnership with Manchester City Council which represents a significant step towards England once again becoming a regular host of international events.
The news follows hot on the heels of London being awarded the centenary World Team Championships to be staged at the OVO Arena, Wembley in 2026.
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive at Table Tennis England, said: “We are thrilled, and very excited, that Table Tennis England is taking its first steps to hosting a WTT event and we are delighted to have received such energy and enthusiasm from our partners at Manchester City Council.
“WTT Feeder Manchester is more than our entry into the international calendar – it provides the platform from which we will build our long-term strategy of staging annual world-class table tennis in this country, enabling us to increase the visibility of table tennis to the millions of people who play our wonderful sport in England and across the world.
“WTT Feeder Manchester will also be the catalyst for social impact as the event will facilitate the opportunity for more people, from every community, to play and get involved in table tennis – in schools, community programmes, clubs, local leagues and competitions – whether that be as players, coaches or through volunteering.
We are incredibly excited and look forward to welcoming the table tennis community to the Manchester Velodrome early in 2024.”
Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, Manchester City Council said: “Here in Manchester we have a rich history supporting sports and hosting large sporting events. We are a globally recognised city of sport and can’t wait to extend that welcome to the very best young talented table tennis players next year.
“We’re passionate about making sport more accessible to our residents and hope that by hosting the table tennis championships more people of all ages and abilities will be encouraged to attend the event and try out table tennis.”
The WTT Feeder Series launched in 2022 to create a playing ground for future WTT Stars has seen more than 40 different men’s and women’s singles Champions.
Jonny Cowan, WTT General Manager Europe, said: “Manchester is a globally recognised city for sport and we have always had positive discussions with authorities around table tennis and how it can connect with local communities.
“It has been a pleasure for the team to shape WTT Feeder Manchester with Adrian Christy, Table Tennis England CEO, as well as Yarv Abbas and Chris Fitzgerald in Manchester.
“We look forward to starting the WTT journey in England as part of a wider event strategy that will provide a great platform to grow table tennis from grassroots to elite level.”
Details about tickets, live streaming, volunteering and much more will be announced in the coming weeks – keep an eye on our website and social media channels!
ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton visited the Table Tennis England offices on Thursday and had this to say about the WTT Feeder Manchester:
About the WTT Feeder Series
The WTT Feeder Series is the playing ground for future WTT stars. Played across all continents, the WTT Feeder series provides the stepping-stone into the professional series of table tennis for players, allows youth players to continue their playing pathway, or players restarting their careers to return.
Players across this series compete for valuable rankings points and prizemoney as they hone their skills and talent against their global peers. Catch year-round WTT Feeder Series action via WTT YouTube channel or at worldtabletennis.com
England as a host nation
England was a regular host of events on the international circuit in the 20th century and an English Open featured on the calendar from 1922 almost every year of peacetime until 1980, when Des Douglas and Jill Parker won the men’s and women’s singles titles for the hosts.
England was still a regular on the circuit through the 1980s and 90s, but only three English Opens have been held this century, in 2001, 2009 and 2011.
Aside from the Team World Cup in London in 2018 and two events either side of the London Olympics (the Grand Finals in London in 2011 and the Men’s World Cup in Liverpool in 2012), that 2011 Open was the last time England hosted an ITTF or WTT event.