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“The World Rankings are now more representative of the current level of players”

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Published in Table Tennis
Tuesday, 03 May 2022 00:54

The latest proposition formulated by the World Ranking Working Group (WRWG) has been approved. It includes the total removal of the “initial points”, the extension of the validity of all points gained during 2021 senior events, and the restriction of the number of youth events counting towards the senior ranking.

The changes come into effect as and from today, Tuesday 3rd May, being included in the “2022 ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking – Week 18”.

Wahid Oshodi, the ITTF Executive Committee member and Chair of the WRWG, explains: Who is part of the WRWG and how did you prepare the recommendations for the Executive Committee?

Wahid Oshodi: The formation and composition of the WRWG was decided by a resolution of the ITTF Annual General Meeting in Houston, in November 2021. It is made of nine members representing all the ITTF’s diverse interests and expertise in this area. It consists of two representatives from the Athletes’ Commission (Dana Cechova and seven-time Olympian Jean-Michel Saive), the ITTF Technical Commissioner (Graeme Ireland), WTT Managing Director (Matthew Pound), three vastly experienced representatives from Continental Federations and Member Associations (Li Xiaoxia, Lincon Yasuda and Richard Prause), the ITTF World Ranking Manager (Javier Angulo) and myself as ITTF Executive Vice President and Chair of the group.

We have been communicating regularly prior to our meeting on April 21st, during which we made a decision on the resolutions and proposals to be forwarded to the ITTF Executive Committee. I am extremely pleased that the process was successful and that all our proposals and resolutions were unanimously approved. Matters relating to player rankings are very important in our sport and I feel quite confident that the WRWG will have a great impact in improving and resolving historic issues surrounding the Rankings.

The “initial points” were introduced in 2020, adding a fixed number of points to the best eight results gained. Due to Covid-19 and the difficulty to organise events, they were maintained for a longer period and reduced at a slower pace than initially planned. Why did the Working Group decide to completely remove these “initial points” now? 

After long and serious consideration, the WRWG decided to recommend the removal of the “initial points” for a variety of practical reasons.

The abnormal situation brought upon the world by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from staging planned events, and the “initial points” allowed us to keep the World Rankings alive, but some of these “initial points” included points from events as far back as 2018. As the pandemic subsides, we have been able to stage more events around the world.

The general feeling among players, fans and ourselves was that the Rankings were not truly representative of the current standard of the players. Some players making rapid progress over the last year did not see their performances being accurately reflected in the Rankings. Therefore, it was time to remove these “initial points”. I believe a few other International Federations have taken similar steps as ours.

We are confident that the performances of players in tournaments will have an immediate impact on their Ranking thus allowing them to climb up the Rankings, consequently giving them the opportunity to take part in the top tier events;  with this change, performances in the many upcoming events will have the importance they deserve in the Rankings and will generate some interesting movements in the following weeks and months.

Do you expect more changes in the World Ranking Regulation this year?

The pandemic forced us to make exceptional adjustments to the rankings, which alongside the current difficulties to host international events, resulted in a ranking system that has not been properly and fully evaluated as yet. We also introduced some big changes in 2021 with the arrival of World Table Tennis.

We will spend the rest of this year only reviewing the effect of these changes as well as looking holistically at the Ranking Regulations, points for events and all other factors relevant to the Rankings.

With the upcoming Olympics qualification, we must be careful to provide stability for all Member Associations and athletes to enable them to plan their season with the safety of having Rules and Regulations that they know will not change too often.

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