After four action-packed days, the first-ever WTT Cup Finals came to a close tonight and already became the new unmissable year-ending sport event. The final showdown between four of the finest table tennis players in the world crowned Sun Yingsha and Fan Zhendong. All players share a prize pool of USD 600,000 – with men and women players being awarded equal prize money.
WTT Council Chair Liu Guoliang commented, “Our goal is to turn table tennis into a truly global sports, with athletes at the core since they are the one who should benefit the most. WTT has created a fully professional platform for the athletes, from young players to champions who are vying to win the most prestigious competitions. All of them are able to get the chance to compete in WTT events.”
WTT aims to transform how table tennis is played and absorbed throughout the world while providing the fans of the sport with cutting-edge technology and new experiences which will build further the interest and awareness of table tennis. It has developed a modern and new event structure establishing a clear journey from Day 1 to World Number 1.
Announced just two weeks ago, the inaugural WTT Cup Finals exceeded all expectations and turned out to be a complete success.
Steve Dainton, ITTF Group CEO, commented, “I am proud of World Table Tennis; they have delivered a superb Cup Finals, which will become the launching pad for future marquee events in Singapore. Furthermore, I am certain this will give other cities the confidence to collaborate with us to host spectacular events next year. We demonstrated it here: hosting WTT events brings extensive benefits to a host city, from tangible financial and economic impacts to destination marketing.”
Hosted at OCBC Arena at Singapore Sports Hub, fans did not miss the opportunity to come watch the world’s best men and women players. In just eight days of ticketing campaign, more than 75% of the tickets were sold and all the sessions for semifinals, finals and those including local hero Feng Tian Wei were sold out.
Lim Teck Yin, CEO Sport Singapore, commented, “Singapore is honoured to have been given the opportunity to host the inaugural WTT Cup Finals. We are delighted that WTT, together with the event partners, have delivered an exciting and successful event for athletes, officials, sponsors and fans. We look forward to working with WTT to bring more exciting table tennis action to Singapore and table tennis fans around the world in future.”
The business community has also welcomed WTT Cup Finals, which gathered support quickly, with ten official partners supporting its delivery. Broadcasted by 17 rights-holders in more than 200 countries on five continents, WTT Cup Finals Singapore was the WTT event generating the most engagement across all owned social media platforms in 2021.
Faithful to its mission to lead the digital transformation of table tennis, WTT has experimented with new engagement opportunities. A virtual mixed zone was set up and live-streamed to give global fans unprecedented behind-the-scenes access and offer them the chance to hear what their favourite players have to say after their matches.
All the ITTF Group came into play to deliver significant added value and reinforce the positive impact of the WTT Cup Finals Singapore on the local table tennis community. In cooperation with the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), the ITTF held two events with Singaporeans coaches and young players. Around 100 participants from Singapore’s Youth Team and Junior development squads were treated to a ‘Meet & Greet’ session with star players. And thirty local coaches attended a lecture on development pathways and high performance.
by Ian Marshall
Wassana Sringam finished ahead of Panwas Sringam in a group organised women’s singles class 4-5 event, before the pair combined to secure the women’s team class 2-5 title.
Similarly, in the men’s events, Yuichiro Kitagawa secured first place in class 2-3, as did Genki Saito in class 4; later they combined to win the class 2-5 team title.
Impressive from Yichiro Kitagawa and Genki Saito, it was the same from Seyed Hosseinipour. He won class 8, prior to partnering colleague Arsham Ramazini to gold in team class 6-8.
Success for Iran, in women’s team class 6-10, there was further gold; Fatemah Mohammanadi and Hananeh Negati emerged victorious.
Similarly, in the men’s team competition, there was success for Chinese Taipei, Sun Jian-Sian and Chen Hsien-Ju emerged the class 9-10 winners.
Notable performances but it was Japan that departed Manama with the greatest collection of gold; in addition to Yichiro Kitagawa and Genki Saito, in the men’s singles events, Hayuma Abe won class 9, Mahiro Funayama emerged successful in class 10.
Additionally, there was also notable success for Hong Kong. Also, in the men’s singles competition, Tong Chi Ming emerged the class 6-7 winner, Wan Wai Lok struck gold in class 11.
Meanwhile, Norakan Chanpahaka added to Thai success; he won men’s singles class 5.
Table tennis was one of nine sports on the Manama schedule, the others being athletics, badminton, boccia, goalball, taekwondo, powerlifting, swimming and wheelchair basketball.
Overall, an estimated 800 athletes competed, the closing ceremony was staged on Monday 6th December.