World Table Tennis (WTT) has announced the launch of the new WTT Youth Series which will hand the next generation of table tennis talents a stage to develop and bring you closer to the future of table tennis!
The new structure will be broken down into two tiers: WTT Youth Contenders and WTT Youth Star Contenders and aligns the WTT Youth Series with the WTT Series to create a whole of sport playing pathway.
With the aim of increasing inter-generation competitiveness and giving the opportunity for more talented and/or faster improving players to put their skills to the test against slightly older opponents, the WTT Youth series will include the following age categories: U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19.
The journey for table tennis players begins with the WTT Youth Contenders, which will open the playing field to all young, up-and-coming athletes. Up to 30 events per year are being targeted, providing plenty of opportunity for players to earn World Ranking points along the way. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) will be required to host U15 and U19 athletes and will be encouraged to welcome all other age categories too.
The next step up the international ladder, the WTT Youth Star Contenders will be reserved for the cream of the future crop, with performance and World Ranking points earned at the WTT Youth Contender events determining who qualifies for the Youth Star Contender series.
Increased prize money in addition to high-level event production, playing conditions and sports presentation, 32 boys and 32 girls will line up in the singles categories as they look to state their intentions loud and clear to the table tennis world!
All matches will be contested in a best of five games format under the new regulations, while prize money and TV production funding will be handled by WTT, moving the added expenditure away from the LOC.
WTT’s senior events are due to kick off from March 2021 and the WTT Youth Series will be up and running from the following month. April 2021 is the targeted launch time in order to allow a smooth transition to the new system, whilst continuing to prioritise safety during these times of global uncertainty.
Further steps will be taken to promote and maintain a safe environment including:
Boys’ and girls’ events will take place separately with a day off between the events;
Omittance of mixed doubles and team competitions;
All participants should be accommodated in the official hospitality package (entry fee option will not be available).
Furthermore, the delayed start to the WTT Youth Series will allow, for the first time, multiple Youth Series events to be scheduled in the same week in separate continents.