3/12/2019 6:41:04 PM (GMT+3)

Record participation for 2019 ITTF World Championships

Record participation for 2019 ITTF World Championships

BUDAPEST, Hungary: With less than six weeks remaining until table tennis’ biggest event of the year kicks off, a record 609 players representing 109 national associations have been confirmed for the 2019 ITTF World Championships to be held here from April 21-28.

The growth in participation number forms a positive step ahead of the ITTF introducing an expanded Worlds format in 2021, which aims to increase national association participation of 47% closer to 100% global representation as more players will have a greater opportunity to take part thanks to the new World Championship stages.

Ma Long leads charge

Following their triumphs in China’s qualification tournament, the ‘Marvellous 12’, Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng made sure of their places in China’s men’s and women’s singles categories respectively.

Fan, the men’s world No.1, will be joined by reigning world champion Ma Long while three more of the nation’s highest ranked players -- Xu Xin, Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun -- complete the quintet in the men’s singles category.

Wang Chuqin, meanwhile, will compete in the doubles alongside Ma.

In the women’s singles, reigning world champion and world No.1, Ding Ning, alongside Chen Meng, Liu Shiwen, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha are some of the top names.

Sun is very much a player in form and selectors of the Chinese Table Tennis Association have preferred her to world No.2, Zhu Yuling, who finished joint fifth at the Marvellous 12. Zhu, however, is confirmed for the doubles.