The table tennis World Cup was originally for 16 of the world's top players. But who qualifies for this prestigious event now?
by courtesy of the ITTF
The table tennis World Cup first took place in Hong Kong in August 1980 as an experimental event, but it was so successful that it's been contested every year since.
Separate tournaments are staged for men and women, but the women's event only started in 1996, 16 years after the first Men's World Cup.
The World Cup is an invitational event, and was initially for 16 of the World's top players.
But 2009 saw a slight change of format and the number of players was increased to 19.
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So which players are invited to take part?
The rules of the competition state that 19 players will be invited to take part as follows...
... although the number of players may be modified by the ITTF's Executive Committee from time to time.
But, there cannot be more than 2 players from an Association, unless a third is invited as a "wild card" selection.
So what happens when there's...
If the World Champion and the World Cup title holder is the same player, or the host Association has a player qualified as title holder or from the World Ranking, then the host Association invitation place will go to the next highest eligible player on the World Ranking List.
Two reserves are also named to cover for non-acceptance or withdrawal of players through injury.
So what format is used for the competition?
The World Cup is initially played in groups, on a round robin basis, with the final stages being on a straight knockout basis.
However, in 2009 a new playing format was introduced.
So, after players have accepted their invitations, there's an initial round known as the "Intercontinental Cup".
The four continental representatives from Africa, Latin America, North America and Oceania compete in an "Intercontinental Cup" which is played in one group on a round-robin basis.
Each of the four players compete against each other with the winner of the "Intercontinental Cup" promoted to the next stage of the event...
The final 16 players then compete in four groups of four players, on a round-robin basis, with the group winners and runners-up competing on a straight knockout basis to decide the first four positions.
So who are the...
|1980||Hong Kong||GUO Yuehua||China||LI Zhenshi||China|
|1981||Kuala Lumpur||KLAMPAR Tibor||HUN||XIE Saike||China|
|1982||Hong Kong||GUO Yuehua||China||APPELGREN Mikael||SWE|
|1983||Barbados||APPELGREN Mikael||SWE||WALDNER Jan-Ove||SWE|
|1984||Kuala Lumpur||JIANG Jialiang||China||KIM Wan||KOR|
|1985||Foshan||CHEN Xinhua||ENG||GRUBBA Andrzej||POL|
|1986||Port of Spain||CHEN Longcan||China||JIANG Jialiang||China|
|1987||Macao||TENG Yi||China||JIANG Jialiang||China|
|1988||Canton & Wuhan||GRUBBA Andrzej||POL||CHEN Longcan||China|
|1989||Nairobi||MA Wenge||China||GRUBBA Andrzej||POL|
|1990||Chiba City||WALDNER Jan-Ove||SWE||MA Wenge||China|
|1991||Kuala Lumpur||PERSSON Jorgen||SWE||GATIEN Jean-Philippe||FRA|
|1992||Ho Chi Minh City||MA Wenge||China||KIM Taek Soo||KOR|
|1993||Guangzhou||PRIMORAC Zoran||HRV||WANG Tao||China|
|1994||Taipei||GATIEN Jean-Philippe||FRA||SAIVE Jean-Michel||BEL|
|1995||Nimes||KONG Linghui||China||ROSSKOPF Jorg||GER|
|1996||Nimes||LIU Guoliang||China||WALDNER Jan-Ove||SWE|
|1997||Nimes||PRIMORAC Zoran||HRV||KONG Linghui||China|
|1998||Shantou||ROSSKOPF Jorg||Germany||KIM Taek Soo||Korea|
|1999||Xiaolan||SAMSONOV Vladimir||Belarus||SCHLAGER Werner||AUT|
|2000||Yangzhou||MA Lin||China||KIM Taek Soo||Korea|
|2001||Courmayeur||SAMSONOV Vladimir||Belarus||WANG Liqin||China|
|2002||Jinan||BOLL Timo||Germany||KONG Linghui||China|
|2003||Jiangyin||MA Lin||China||KREANGA Kalinikos||Greece|
|2004||Hangzhou||MA Lin||China||KREANGA Kalinikos||Greece|
|2005||Liége||BOLL Timo||Germany||WANG Hao||China|
|2006||Paris||MA Lin||China||WANG Hao||China|
|2007||Barcelona||WANG Hao||China||RYU Seung Min||Korea|
|2008||Liege||WANG Hao||China||BOLL Timo||Germany|
|2009||Moscow||SAMSONOV Vladimir||Belarus||CHEN Qi||China|
|2010||Magdeburg||WANG Hao||China||ZHANG Jike||China|
|2011||Paris||ZHANG Jike||China||WANG Hao||China|
|2012||Liverpool||MA Long||China||BOLL Timo||Germany|
|1996||Hong Kong||DENG Yaping||China||YANG Ying||China|
|1997||Shanghai||WANG Nan||China||LI Ju||China|
|1998||Taipeh||WANG Nan||China||LI Ju||China|
|2000||Phnom Penh||LI Ju||China||WANG Nan||China|
|2001||Wuhu||ZHANG Yining||China||KIM Hyon Hui||PRK|
|2002||Singapore||ZHANG Yining||China||LI Nan||China|
|2003||Hong Kong||WANG Nan||China||NIU Jianfeng||China|
|2004||Hangzhou||ZHANG Yining||China||WANG Nan||China|
|2005||Guangzhou||ZHANG Yining||China||GUO Yan||China|
|2006||Urumqi||GUO Yan||China||ZHANG Yining||China|
|2007||Chengdu||WANG Nan||China||ZHANG Yining||China|
|2008||Kuala Lumpur||LI Xiaoxia||China||TIE Yana||HKG|
|2009||Guangzhou||LIU Shiwen||China||GUO Yue||China|
|2010||Kuala Lumpur||GUO Yan||China||JIANG Huajun||HKG|
|2011||Singapore||DING Ning||China||LI Xiaoxia||China|
|2012||Huangshi||LIU Shiwen||China||SAMARA Elizabeta||Romania|
So when and where are the 2013 World Cups?
The 2013 Liebherr Men's World Cup will be from 25-27 October in Verviers, Belgium whilst the 2013 Volkswagen Women's World Cup will be from 20-22 September.
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Men's World Cup
Other Major Tournaments
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Table Tennis Officials