Doubles, mixed doubles unlikely in TT this year: ITTF

CHENNAI: The International Table tennis The Federation (ITTF) plans to exclude doubles and mixed doubles events in its tournaments until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 . ITTF President Thomas Weikart He told TOI during an exclusive conversation that the decision was made considering the social distancing rules for events that will take place in 2020.

“We have to respect social distancing norms as it is important to think about players’ health. In my home country Germany, we are planning to have events without spectators and only in singles category. It’s going to be the same in international events as well. If we’re able to organise the World Team Table tennis Championships in September, that will only be in singles and if we have the World Cups in October that, too, will also be only singles,” Weikart said.

The ITTF has already postponed several events including the World Tour Platinum China Open, which was scheduled to be held from May 12 in Shenzhen. The world body, however, has set up a special task-force across the globe which has been working on the possibilities of conducting future and postponed events.

“Considering the present situation we have decided to cancel all the activities until July, 2020. It’s an unprecedented situation and the biggest crisis that sports has suffered in the last century. But we have to deal with it without any excuse. We have built a task-force which reports three times a week. We have been conducting EC meetings on a regular basis, CEO Steve Dainton and CFO Michael Brown have made a lot of suggestions so that we can conduct some big tournaments this year, ”the ITTF chief said.

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Weikart made it clear that organizing and reprogramming the international calendar is a Herculean task. The world ranking has also been frozen and the world body will attend to the ranking system once the world ranking group submits its report.

It is being discussed and we are awaiting the report of the world ranking group. The final report will be presented to members of the ethics commission and we will await their advice on this matter before making the final decision, Weikart explained.

When asked about the qualification norms for the Tokyo Games, Weikart said: “The ITTF is in constant touch with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the Olympic qualification system. We have been told to start with the singles tournaments in the beginning of the next year. And as far as team qualifications are concerned, it’s already decided and it will stay the same. ’’