World table tennis governing body ITTF announced Tuesday that China’s Zhengzhou will host the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in December when top four finishers of mixed doubles will secure their Olympic berths to Tokyo 2020.
“As one of the major metropolitans of the central plain area in China, Zhengzhou boasts a long history with large population and convenient transportation. Hosting world-class international events will present Zhengzhou to the rest of the world, and at the same time bring the world to Zhengzhou,” read the statement of the International Table Tennis Federation.
The year-ending showpiece will take place in Zhengzhou between December 12-15, with a total of one million U.S. dollars prize money, the highest on offer in the sport.
Big names are expected to be featured in the event, namely the top 16 paddlers in each of the men’s and women’s singles competitions that have accumulated the highest number of points over the course of the year’s ITTF World Tour, as well as the top eight pairs in the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.
An extra special ingredient of the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals is that the last four mixed doubles pairs in Zhengzhou will seal direct qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have the stakes raised as high as never before.
One day ahead of the Finals, the annual ITTF Star Awards will be staged in Zhengzhou also, where several awards will be presented in the Female & Male Star, Female & Male Para Star, Breakthrough Star, Star Coach and Star Point categories.