The chance to take on the best players in England in Commonwealth Games year is the incentive for those entering the Mark Bates Ltd Senior National Championships Qualifying Tournament.

Entries are now open for the tournament, which takes place on the weekend of January 8-9 at the University of Nottingham’s David Ross Sports Village.

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The competition is open to any players who are eligible to represent England and who hold Compete Plus membership with Table Tennis England.

The entry deadline is Sunday, December 19th. Seedings for the qualifier will be worked out from the December ranking list and the draw will be published on January 4th.

The event will begin with group stages on the Saturday, comprising of groups of 6-8 players, subject to entries received, with 2 or 3 players from each group qualifying for the knockout stage on Sunday.

Progressive knockout matches on Sunday will be the last 32 players only and will be played to a final list, for example players losing in the last 16 will play out for places 9-16 and so on.

The top 14 finishers in both the men’s and women’s singles at the tournament will qualify for the Mark Bates Ltd Senior National Championships at the same venue from Friday March 25 to Sunday March 27.

There, they will join the top 16 players in the national rankings (from the ranking list published on February 9th), plus two wildcards.

This means they will compete alongside England’s finest, including defending singles champions Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho, fellow Olympians Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker and a host of other big names.

Also showcasing their talents at the Nationals will be several medallists from this year’s Tokyo Paralympics, with para events for classes 3-5 and 6-10 also on the programme. Qualification for the para classes will be handled by British Para Table Tennis.

Tickets for the Mark Bates Ltd Senior Nationals will go on sale early in the new year.

* Please note, all entries and event details are subject to Covid-related restrictions, or protocols that Table Tennis England may deem necessary. Please note that venues used for events may impose restrictions which go beyond government guidance.

Players who play in the qualifier and qualify in the top 14 places will not need to pay the entry fee for the Mark Bates Ltd Senior National Championships.