HOUSTON, TEXAS (September 9, 2021): Houston will host the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) Nov. 23 – Nov. 29 at George R. Brown Convention Center. This renowned sporting event is the oldest in table tennis history, dating to 1926, and serves as an annual opportunity to showcase the world’s best table tennis players. 2021 marks the first time the World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) are hosted in the Americas. In addition to the WTTC debut in the Americas in Houston, the event will also celebrate the 50th anniversary year of Ping Pong Diplomacy.
This historic championship will feature five table tennis events, each with its own World Championship title to be won: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Former world champions, national champions, Olympians, and gold medalists alike will headline the week-long tournament.
Priority ticket presale for the 2021 WTTC event begins today, Thursday, Sept. 9, and runs until Sunday, Sept. 12. Tickets are available to the public starting Monday, Sept. 13, and can be purchased here.
Table Tennis History
Invented in England in the late 19th century, table tennis quickly grew in popularity. Amidst this growing popularity, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was founded in 1926. In the 1950s, China and other Asian countries became table tennis powerhouses with the sport becoming an integral part of Asian culture. Countries like China and Japan have continued to dominate the sport by producing table tennis champions year after year. Even with Asia’s dominance, table tennis has grown to become a truly international sport.
Ping Pong Diplomacy
50 years ago, at the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, Ping Pong Diplomacy came into effect. A neighborly moment between a Chinese and American ping pong player served as a catalyst to improved relations between the U.S. and China. After seeing photos of this interaction, the Chinese government invited the U.S. Table Tennis Team to China as a gesture of goodwill. This interaction was the start of Ping Pong Diplomacy and has continued to allow for the exchange of table tennis players between the U.S. and China today.