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ITTF and Sport Singapore Open Talks For World’s First ‘Home Of Table Tennis’

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Sport Singapore (SportSG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to kick-start discussions for the world’s first Home of Table Tennis (HoTT). The signing ceremony took place on the final night of the Singapore Smash 2023 and testifies to the commitment of both parties to raising the profile of table tennis regionally and strengthening the strong partnership between SportSG and the ITTF.

To expand its global footprint, the ITTF plans to establish several new hubs around the world and Singapore has been identified as a potential location for the first such hub. The main reasons for this are:

  • Singapore’s commitment to table tennis with hosting several celebratory WTT events such as the Singapore Smash and our TeamSG athletes representing Singapore on the international arena through major games such as SEA Games and Commonwealth Games.
  • The nation’s reputation for hosting world-class sports, including marquee events such as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s, is a regular fixture on the calendar.
  • The strong suite of world-class infrastructure like the Singapore Sports Hub and strong travel connectivity.
  • Singapore’s strategic location as a well-connected hub for organizations with an international presence, evidenced by the regional headquarters of international companies.
  • Consistently ranked as one of the best places to live and work, with a diverse culture, excellent healthcare and world-class education systems that will help attract and retain top talent.

“Sport Singapore and the International Table Tennis Federation have worked together to achieve our common goal of raising the profile of the sport of table tennis in Singapore. Through our cooperation, we organized the WTT Cup Finals in December 2021 and the Singapore Smash in March 2022 and March 2023. It is therefore very fitting that on the final day of Singapore Smash 2023 we are taking our partnership to the next level with the Singapore HoTT project. As a result, SportSG will work with the ITTF to break new ground and create more opportunities to benefit our local athletes, coaches, industry partners and others in our table tennis community,” said Mr. Alan Goh, CEO (designate), SportSG.

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Commenting on the partnership, ITTF President Ms. Petra Sörling said: “This project is a significant milestone for table tennis and a clear signal of our commitment to the continued growth and development of the sport around the world. As we strive to bring table tennis to new corners of the world and inspire the next generation of players and fans, Singapore serves as a shining example of what is possible. By partnering with SportSG to build a hub in Singapore, we are laying the foundation for a more innovative, inclusive and sustainable future for our sport. We look forward to continuing to work closely with SportSG to bring this vision to life and create more opportunities for table tennis players and fans worldwide.”

Mr. Steve Dainton, ITTF Group Chief Executive Officer added: “We are thrilled to partner with Sport Singapore, the place I have called home for the past 12 years, on this project. This initiative is certainly a step forward in our efforts to grow and develop the sport of table tennis in Singapore and around the world as we hope to inspire the next generation of table tennis players and fans. Since the ITTF’s Asia Pacific office opened in Singapore in 2011, we have seen table tennis in Singapore grow by leaps and bounds. We look forward to having more such hubs around the world.”

Homes of Table Tennis concept.

The ITTF is embarking on an exciting project to set up several new HoTTs and is currently looking for potential host cities to seize the opportunity to host one of the most exciting sports. The project, which started in 2019, was temporarily interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, the ITTF reactivated the project, fully reviewing the concept in the light of the lessons learned from the pandemic and deciding to look not for one home but for several centers, each with specialized expertise.

The ITTF is committed to working closely with each city to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership that promotes sustainable development. The ITTF will prioritize a targeted approach throughout the selection process and will endeavor to reach out to cities that have expressed interest in the original project and have shown a strong commitment to table tennis. In addition, all interested cities are invited to enter into a non-binding dialogue with the ITTF to explore the possibilities.

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The ITTF will carefully review each application and select the most appropriate host city for each HQ based on a number of factors including infrastructure, accessibility and local support for the sport of table tennis. Once selected, the ITTF will engage in targeted dialogue with each city to ensure hubs are tailored to local needs and priorities.

Hosting one of the new centers offers cities a unique opportunity to harness the power of sport to foster economic growth, social advancement and international cooperation. By attracting thousands of visitors, athletes and officials from around the world, boosting local economies and creating new business and investment opportunities, each city gains access to a global network of stakeholders and builds lasting connections that will benefit their communities in the coming years years will benefit.

Exploring a HoTT in Singapore

Conceived as an international center of excellence, a HoTT in Singapore would focus its efforts on raising the profile of table tennis within the Singaporean community. A HoTT in Singapore would create opportunities for athletes and coaches to strengthen their skills through the ITTF’s world-class knowledge and networks. In addition, based on Singapore’s technological ability and talent, the HoTT can be a testing ground for innovative creations and digital solutions for table tennis, and contribute to the promotion of table tennis sport worldwide. The HoTT could also contribute to programs and initiatives to further increase community participation and viewership in table tennis. Discussions with the ITTF on establishing a HoTT in Singapore will cover possible areas of cooperation including:

1. Pathway development
Discussions on the Singapore HoTT will include possible plans to set up a dedicated ITTF academy to develop the skills of coaches and officials and better position them in the global ecosystem. In addition, the academy will also be a channel for locals to train and share knowledge alongside some of the best players in the world.
Ms. Poh Li San, President of the Singapore Table Tennis Association, said: “Having a table tennis center of excellence in Singapore is exciting news for the fraternity. We anticipate that the HoTT will strengthen our table tennis and the entire sports ecosystem in Singapore. There will be new opportunities for our athletes and coaches to learn from the best. The availability of quality training and facilities will not only enhance existing pathway development plans, but also help inspire a new generation of table tennis athletes.”

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2. Industry development
With the Singapore HoTT, there is potential to raise the profile of table tennis within the sports industry through marquee events such as the Singapore Smash and other community activations. In addition to the diverse table tennis calendar of events, the Singapore HoTT would play a crucial role in strengthening Singapore as a hub for knowledge transfer and demonstrating thought leadership in the fields of sport, education, innovation and technology. This could also further cultivate an ecosystem conducive to sustained growth in the sport of table tennis and continuous skill development.

3. Community Engagement and Inclusivity
Beyond high-level sport and industry development, it is also crucial to increase the base of table tennis participants within the community. The Singapore HoTT may create opportunities for community projects, encouraging people of all abilities to come together through table tennis. Other ways to promote inclusivity include using the ITTF Foundation and relevant ITTF Group entities for projects related to accessibility, diplomacy, health, solidarity, sustainability and other social and humanitarian causes.

4. Innovation & Technology
The HoTT project in Singapore will also explore ways in which technological developments and innovations can be used to promote table tennis as a sport “for everyone, for life”, including youth, senior citizens and people of all ability levels. Additionally, with Singapore serving as a regional hub for the latest technology in the market, it could also serve as a resource hub and sandbox for innovative solutions in table tennis, including game formats, training formats, event implementations, fan experiences, esports, sports science, equipment, apparel and materials.

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