The 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships take place at Sweden’s Halmstad Arena from 29th April until 6th May. England’s men will compete in the Men’s Championships Division competition, while the women are in Division 2. Wales feature in the women’s Division 3 event.
Team England and Team Wales – How Good Are They?
England’s table tennis players have been in superb form recently. Earlier this month, they came home from the Commonwealth Games with six medals: two golds, two silvers and two bronzes. Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford topped the men’s doubles podium, while Ross Wilson became the TT6-10 champion. Kim Daybell won the silver in the TT6-10 event, with Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho finishing second in the mixed doubles. England won bronze medals in both the men’s and women’s team events, thanks to Paul Drinkhall, David McBeath, Liam Pitchford, Sam Walker, Tin-Tin Ho, Denise Payet, Kelly Sibley and Maria Tsaptsinos.
Their success came less than two months after England’s men seized the bronze medal at the ITTF Team World Cup, which took place at London’s Copper Box Arena. The men’s team also won bronze at the 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur. On that occasion, they finished in joint third place with Chinese Taipei, North Korea and South Korea.
Wales secured one medal in the sport in the Commonwealth Games, with Joshua Stacey winning bronze in the men’s TT6-10 event. The women’s team, which consisted of Charlotte Carey, Chloe Thomas and 11-year old sporting sensation Anna Hursey, made it as far as the quarter-finals, where they were defeated by Australia.
The World Team Table Tennis Championships – What Are The Teams Competing For?
The World Team Championships take place in even-numbered years and a stunning table tennis trophy is on offer in each of the Championships Division competitions.
Those playing in the Men’s Championships Division will have their sights set on winning the Swaythling Cup. This exquisite trophy, which now sits on top of six engraved bases, was donated to the ITTF in 1926 by Lady Baroness Swaythling, whose son, the film maker Ivor Montagu, founded the organisation and helped to set up the sport’s first world championships that year. China currently hold the trophy, having won the men’s event for the 21st time in 2016.
England will find it tough to beat the Chinese this year but could come home with a medal. Their first task, however, will be to make it out of the group stages, where they’ll face challenging competition. They’ve been drawn against Japan, Chinese Taipei, Belgium, Belarus and Singapore.
Although none of the home nations are competing in the Women’s Championships Division, it’s still likely to be an exciting event. 24 teams will battle for the Corbillon Cup, which was won by China in 2016.
The teams in the lower divisions will be aiming to finish in first or second place so they can compete in the next division up in the 2020 tournament. England’s women will be competing against Chile, Switzerland, Serbia, the Dominican Republic and Canada in the Division 2 group stages. Wales’s women, meanwhile, have been drawn in the same Division 3 group as Norway, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Will England’s men will take a medal home from the World Team Table Tennis Championships? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section.