Table Tennis: Singapore named as one of three hosts for T2 Diamond series

This year's T2 Diamond series will feature 32 of the world's best players for a combined prize purse of US$1.5 million ($2.03 million).
This year's T2 Diamond series will feature 32 of the world's best players for a combined prize purse of US$1.5 million ($2.03 million).PHOTO: T2

SINGAPORE - The Republic will host the final leg of the 2019 T2 Diamond Table Tennis League from November 28 to Dec 1, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and T2 announced on Monday (March 25).

Johor Bahru, Malaysia (July 18-21) and Haikou, China (September 26-29) were named as the other two host cities for the second edition of the series, which will offer world ranking points to participating players.

The T2 Diamond will be the most high-profile international table tennis event staged in Singapore since the Women's World Cup in 2011.

The ITTF cited Singapore's "location, accessibility and reputable city image", and "state-of-the art integrated sports entertainment facilities" as reasons it was selected.

This year's T2 Diamond series will feature 32 of the world's best players for a combined prize purse of US$1.5 million ($2.03 million).

Jeff Chue, T2 chief executive officer and commissioner, said: "We are ecstatic with the level of interest from distinctive partners and cities, and would like to acknowledge their creative vision and collaborative passion to develop the event within their existing local ecosystem.

"We want this to be a revolutionary chapter in T2 history and we are pleased to have Johor Bahru, Haikou and Singapore to be a part of that."

Added ITTF CEO Steve Dainton: "We hope to see that the T2 model will prove to the market how best to commercialise table tennis.

"At the ITTF we are flexible and open to new ideas of taking the sport to a new level and success for the T2 events would demonstrate that there is a much better chance for table tennis to grow as fast as we'd like."

The T2 was started in 2017 as a pan-regional professional table tennis league with a new format of 24-minute, time-based matches.

The inaugural edition featured 36 of the world's best players competing for a prize purse of over US$2 million.

Feng Tianwei was Singapore's only representative, and made it all the way to the final, where she lost to Romania's Bernadette Szocs.

In 2018, the ITTF and T2 inked a deal for the latter to be a test bed in 2019 and 2020 for the world federation's new competition structure from 2021.