China Withdraw From The WTT Middle East Hub

In a blow to the first official World Table Tennis events the Chinese National Team has announced it will be withdrawing completely from the Middle East Hub. This announcement comes after the Hong Kong table tennis team withdrew from the Middle East Hub earlier this month. Hong Kong Head coach Chan Kong-wah said he was not prepared to take a risk with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the horizon, claiming that the coronavirus measures in place at the Lusail Sports Arena did not meet the standards of the Hong Kong Sports Institute.


Xu Xin at the WTT Macao event last year - Photo via ITTF Flickr

A statement was released by the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) who have taken the decision to miss the event due to concerns relating to COVID-19.

The secretary-general of the CTTA, Qin Zhijian stated, “The association and the coaching staff combine the possible epidemic risks during travel abroad, no suitable flights for the return journey, and 21-28 days of isolation without training after returning home. Full consideration of the period and other circumstances, we believe that this will greatly affect the training of athletes and the arrangements for the subsequent National Games preliminaries. We have also fully listened to the opinions of various units and participating athletes, and agreed that staying in the domestic training at this stage is a better choice."

Additionally, Qin added that they will not be sending players outside of China in the build up to the Tokyo Olympics citing domestic and international events in China that will be used for preparation.

“We have updated our plan strategically. We will use the time between the original Qatar competition and the isolation period when we return to China, and fully consider the opinions of various provinces, cities, units and athletes, and strive to reach April 4 by the end of March. Choose the right time at the beginning of the month to actively and securely complete the National Games qualifiers. This is also the key to the successful completion of the important tasks of the National Games in all provinces and cities. In addition, the National Table Tennis will also use the time to organize training in a targeted manner, To prepare for the next WTT China Tournament scheduled to be held in China."

Stephen Duckitt, Event and Strategy Director responded by saying "Team China's withdrawal from the Middle East Hub is disappointing.”

He continued, "Despite the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are ready to deliver the first official WTT events in Doha and we will continue to work closely with the Qatar Table Tennis Association and local authorities to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Players have been seen taking extra precautions on their way to Qatar with the Chinese Taipei team opting to don full PPE whilst travelling.


This is a disappointing but understandable start to the WTT Middle East Hub. However, the two WTT events including a Contender followed by a Star Contender event will still be taking place so there is plenty of action still to look forward to. With some of the top seeds now missing from the tournament, who can take advantage and claim victory in the first ever Contender and Star Contender tournaments? The seeds have been updated below with Harimoto and Mima Ito entering as the number 1 seeds:

Men's Singles

01) Tomokazu Harimoto
02) Hugo Calderano
03) Lin Yun-Ju
04) Mattias Falck
05) Dimitrij Ovtcharov
06) Liam Pitchford
07) Simon Gauzy
08) Quadri Aruna
09) Lee Sangsu
10) Robert Gardos
11) Marcos Freitas
12) Chuang Chih Yuan
13) Kristian Karlsson
14) Jonathan Groth
15) Darko Jorgic
16) Kamal Sharath Achanta

Women's Singles

01) Mima Ito
02) Cheng I-Ching
03) Kasumi Ishikawa
04) Miu Hirano
05) Feng Tianwei
06) Adriana Diaz
07) Hyowon Suh
08) Ying Han
09) Chen Szu-Yu
10) Bernadette Szocs
11) Britt Eerland
12) Hina Hayata
13) Lily Zhang
14) Margaryta Pesotska
15) Elizabeta Samara
16) Dina Meshree

Follow all the action on TableTennisDaily here.

Source: Xinhua
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Jun 2022
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In September 2022, China's Hangzhou will host the Asian Summer Games. China is the top favorite for the 2022 Asian Games. That's because China took first place in the medal standings in 2018, 89 medals ahead of Japan. The odds for the events of the Asian Games will be convenient to follow through with the applications.

Unlike Japan, the Chinese team will not be recruited during the qualifying tournament, following the document "Methods of Selecting Table Tennis Athletes for the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou". It seems that Ozwin will be one of the sponsors.

There were three main categories for the selection of athletes:

Winners of the men's and women's singles at the WTT Grand Smashes, held March 7-20, 2022.
The three Chinese athletes with the highest men's and women's singles rankings were announced by the ITTF during Week 14, 2022 (April 4-10, 2022).
The top ITTF ranked athletes among those under age 23.

The qualifiers are as follows:

Men: Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, Liang Jingkun, Wang Chuqin.
Women: Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu.

As for doubles, the coaching staff will choose the tennis players based on the athletes' shape, performance experience and other data.
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