The grand slam of table tennis organised in collaboration with the International Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Johor Bahru (Malaysia) as one of the three hosts cities, with Haikou (China) and Singapore being the other two selected.
The grand slam series features 32 of the world’s best men’s and women’s players, a total prize purse of USD 1.5 million, and a progressive competition format that aims to amplify the appeal of table tennis across regions, with the Host City Selection Process as one of its main strategies.
The T2 format was introduced for the first time in professional table tennis in 2017, with matches held under a time limit.
Competitions feature a single table set-up, with the aim of having an intimate competition arena designed to boost both player and audience experience.
ITTF and T2 inked a deal last year for the T2 Diamond series to serve as a test bed in 2019 and 2020 for the world federation’s new competition structure from 2021.
The unparalleled competition which awards bonus World Ranking Points to all competing players is poised to shake up the table tennis scene prior to the Olympic year.
With only two more ITTF World Tour events (Qatar Open in March and China Open in May) before the qualification cut-off for the first T2 Diamond event this year, it is a sprint for players to rise to the top of the ITTF World Tour standings.
The T2 Diamond will start at the very place where the journey first began. The opening event in July will be held in Johor Bahru (Malaysia), the city which successfully hosted the inaugural season in 2017.
The second leg will take place at Mission Hills Resort in September in the iconic city of Haikou on the island of Hainan, while the season-ending showpiece in November will be hosted in Singapore, which is the headquarters for T2 Diamond.
“We are ecstatic with the level of interest from distinctive partners and cities, and would like to acknowledge their creative vision and collaborative passion to develop the event within their existing local ecosystem. We want this to be a revolutionary chapter in T2 history and we are pleased to have Johor Bahru, Haikou and Singapore to be a part of that.
“We want to prove that it is possible to build prestigious, commercially viable professional sports events that make optimal usage of existing assets within the host cities.
“We look at moulding the T2 Diamond concept to fit uniquely into each of the city’s long-term goals to both increase the opportunities for sports tourism and community engagement through sports within the city, and to develop the global attraction of table tennis.”
T2 CEO and Commissioner, Jeff Chue said, “We hope to see that the T2 model will prove to the market how best to commercialise table tennis. At the ITTF we are flexible and open to new ideas of taking the sport to a new level and success for the T2 events would demonstrate that there is a much better chance for table tennis to grow as fast as we’d like.”
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