Singapore to host first WTT cup finals

Feng to play in next month's event, which will allow a maximum of 900 fans per session

Olympic champions Chen Meng and Fan Zhendong, as well as Singapore's Feng Tianwei, will exhibit their world-class skills at the OCBC Arena when Singapore hosts the inaugural World Table Tennis Cup Finals from Dec 4-7.

Yesterday, the WTT confirmed the US$600,000 (S$820,000) event will feature 16 of the world's top 20 players from each of the men's and women's singles categories, with equal prize money awarded.

With safe management measures in place, a maximum of 900 fans will be allowed to attend each session. All participants must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the Singapore Government or undertake pre-event testing.

World No. 11 Feng, who has been based in Japan for more than a year and is currently in the United States competing in the World Table Tennis Championships, told The Straits Times she is looking forward to returning home.

The 35-year-old said: "It is great that such a big table tennis event can be held in Singapore and I can get a chance to play an international tournament at home.

"I do miss home and I can't wait to catch up with friends and eat my favourite local food like durian and bak kut teh (pork rib soup)."

After weeks of collaborating with Sport Singapore to make this event happen, WTT director Steve Dainton said: "The table tennis community and Singapore share a special bond and we are delighted that Singapore becomes the first-ever host of the WTT Cup Finals.

"We are looking forward to further strengthening our partnership with the Lion City and to continue hosting world-class events there."

The hosting of the event comes at a time when Singapore is opening up to the sporting world again following the lengthy Covid-19 induced interruption.

Among the events set to be staged here are the Dec 5-Jan 1 Suzuki Cup football tournament and golf's Asian Tour, which has two events pencilled in for January.

The last time top table tennis players appeared in Singapore was when the T2 Diamond Singapore event was held in 2019, with 1,900 fans turning up for the finals at Our Tampines Hub.

Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin added: "We are honoured to be the host city for the inaugural WTT Cup Finals. Staging the event in Singapore signals our commitment to bring sport back safely for everyone. The WTT Cup Finals is an excellent opportunity to enliven our local table tennis community and inspire more young athletes to engage in the sport."

The WTT is a commercial vehicle which the International Table Tennis Federation launched last year.

It announced a new event structure in March last year that will see the total prize money on its circuit more than double to US$13 million a year.

Tickets for the WTT Cup Finals are priced from $38 to $258. Sales will start from 3pm today through the OCBC Arena box office, Sistic authorised agents, online at sistic.com.sg/events/WTT1221 and its hotline (+65 6348 5555).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Singapore to host first WTT cup finals'. Subscribe