The International Table Tennis Federation’s flagship event returns to the city of its birth to celebrate the centenary tournament in 2026.
London will host the World Team Table Tennis Championships, exactly 100 years after the city staged the first World Championships – alongside the foundation of the ITTF – in 1926.
The competition will be held at the OVO Arena, Wembley, in May 2026, with practice facilities at Wembley Stadium.
It will be the first time England has hosted the Worlds since 1997 and the first time since 1954 that the championships has been held in London.
Delegates at the ITTF’s Annual Meeting voted for London to host the event ahead of fellow bid city Bangkok.
Adrian Christy, CEO of Table Tennis England, said: “This is the most fantastic news we could have wished for. The global table tennis family has put its faith in Table Tennis England to deliver a memorable championships in London, and I can promise that is exactly what we will do.
“To bring the centenary World Championships back to the city where it all began is a huge honour and a massive boost for the sport in this country.
“It’s been a monumental team effort to get us this far and we are hugely grateful for the support of the Mayor of London, UK Sport, our venue partners at OVO Arena, Wembley and Wembley Stadium, our consultant partner, Onside, and the team at Table Tennis England.
“But the hard work begins now, and we can’t wait to get started on delivering the greatest table tennis show on earth, alongside the exciting impact projects we have planned.”
The AGM vote followed a final presentation to delegates by each bid city. Both London and Bangkok had previously submitted detailed technical information about how they would stage the championships.
As well as the aim to bring the centenary championships back to Where It All Began, London’s bid was based on being the most environmentally sustainable championships to date.
The competition venue and warm-up facilities will be the iconic OVO Arena, Wembley while the world-famous Wembley Stadium will provide the practice facilities for the best players in the world in the Great Hall. Both facilities are within as little as 20 metres from the main Championship hotel and no more than 600 metres from all other hotels.
With the centre of London less than 20 minutes away on the Underground, the whole event is based on public transport and the ease of accessibility from the moment athletes and other delegates arrive at Wembley.
Adrian added: “Sports organisations have a key role to play in reducing the environmental impact on the staging of major international events, and we hope our ‘footprint’ of the event resonated with the ITTF delegates’ deliberations.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I am proud that London is hosting the 2026 World Team Table Tennis Championships. Bringing the centenary tournament back to our great city where it began is a fantastic boost for both local sport and the economy, and it will also be the most environmentally sustainable championships to date.
“London is the sporting capital of the world, from grassroots to the elite level, and I look forward to Wembley putting on a memorable show.”
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Hosting major global sporting events here in the UK provides the opportunity for extraordinary sporting moments that reach, unite and inspire the nation, and we are absolutely delighted that the British public will be able to enjoy another World Championships on their doorstep. We look forward to working with the other event hosting partners to deliver this exciting event.”
Sandra Deaton, Chair of Table Tennis England, said: “It is wonderful to be awarded the most prestigious World Championships to celebrate 100 years of our wonderful sport.
“Thank you to the ITTF Executive Board and all our member nations for giving us the opportunity to celebrate the history and deliver a World Championship to take the sport into the next hundred years.
“Being awarded the 2026 World Championships is a result of a journey Table Tennis England has embraced over a significant period of time being brought together over the last few months under the incredible leadership of our CEO Adrian Christy.
“Thank you to everyone involved. The delivery of the 2026 World Team Table Tennis Championships gives our governing body the opportunity to bring back the championships to where it all began.”
The next step is to set up a new company to manage the event budget and delivery. The company will then recruit key positions, as well as drawing on expertise from within Table Tennis England and the wider table tennis community.
Details about volunteering opportunities and ticketing will follow closer to the event.