SINGAPORE - Table tennis fans here can catch the world's best paddlers in the heartland at the end of the year, with the Singapore leg and finale of this year's T2 Diamond Table Tennis League to be held at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) from Nov 21-24.
T2 and national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced the venue in a statement on Thursday (June 6), adding that tickets would go on sale in August.
Our Tampines Hub is a regional sports centre, which is on the second tier of sports facilities - behind the Singapore Sports Hub - in the Government's Sports Facilities Master Plan.
Noting that such sports centres - OTH is the first to be built with another under construction in Punggol - provide the opportunity for world-class sporting action to be hosted in the heartland, SportSG chief executive Lim Teck Yin said: "Our Tampines Hub, which is the first of these, is suited for the T2 Diamond particularly when we want to activate the community and bring in a distinctive local flavour to the event.
"I hope the Tampines residents and Singaporeans-at-large will be excited to give the world's best paddlers a rapturous welcome as they enjoy top-notch table tennis action at their doorstep."
T2 Diamond 2019, organised in collaboration with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), is in its second season and features 32 of the best men's and women's players, as well as a total prize purse of US$1.5 million (S$2.05 million). Its competition format aims to amplify the appeal of table tennis across regions.
In July 2018, ITTF and T2 inked a deal for the latter's events to serve as a test bed for the world body's new initiatives in 2019 and 2020, as the ITTF looks to revamp its competitions and programmes from 2021.
T2 chief executive Jeff Chue added: "We are defying the rules of traditional sporting events and defining the new way we believe sporting bodies should adapt and evolve when developing an international sporting event. T2 Diamond is flexible and can be moulded to fit into each host city's long-term goals.
"We have set out to prove that there are always different avenues in delivering a world-class professional sporting event that increases the opportunities in sports and community engagement globally."
The Singapore event is likely to feature two or more local paddlers, considering Singapore paddler Feng Tianwei's ITTF current world ranking (women's No. 12) and the host city's right to nominate players under their host exemptions.
The other stops are in Johor Baru, Malaysia in July and Haikou, China in September.