The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed the annual Lagos Open among the 20 World Tour listed for 2016.
With the ongoing Hungarian Open kick-starting the 20 anniversary of the ITTF World Tour, the world table tennis ruling body has confirmed Lagos Open to hold on May 18 to 22 at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
As one the challenge series, the Lagos Open is expected to attract players from Europe, Asia and Africa as the tournament serves as one on the point-hauling events to qualify for the World Tour Finals.
Meanwhile, the ITTF World Tour celebrates its 20 years’ anniversary with the 2016 ITTF World Tour kicking off in Budapest, Hungary.
The then called ITTF Pro Tour first kicked off in Kettering, England in 1996 and has seen 291 events happen since, growing from strength to strength each year.
On the historic anniversary of the world’s biggest table tennis tour, ITTF’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Judit FARAGO stated: “20 years after introducing the professional tour in table tennis, we are glad that the all-year-long competition format has grown to be a core element of the ITTF competition program.
“This year, five continents are included in the series which gives excellent opportunity for the top players to improve their seeding position for the Olympic Games by gaining valuable World Ranking points. Also for those players to succeed at the World Tour who cannot realise their dream at Rio 2016. The great interest is shown already at the very first event, the Hungarian Open where the last year’s participation record will be broken with 378 entries from 56 countries.”
20 ITTF World Tour events will take place in 2016 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tour. The notable addition from 2015 is Slovenia, who will be hosting an ITTF World Tour event for the first time since 2012.
The 20 events on the 2016 ITTF World Tour are split into three tiers: Super (6 events) Major series (6 events) and Challenge (9 events). The higher the tier, the higher the prize money, better playing conditions and tougher competition.
All the players playing ITTF World Tour events are fighting for not only for prize money and world ranking points, but also World Tour ranking points to qualify for the lucrative World Tour Grand Final, taking place on 15 to 18 December 2016 in a location to be announced.
The ITTF World Tour Super Series kicks off a week later at the German Open on 27 January 2016.