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World Cup

The World Cup was originally an invitational event for 16 of the world's top players.
But who qualifies for this prestigious event now?

World Cup trophy The World Cup trophy
by courtesy of the ITTF

The 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.

You can find a list of the previous winners below.

Separate tournaments are now 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 started as an invitational event and was initially for 16 of the World's top players, but in 2009 there was a slight change of format and the number of players invited was increased to 19.

Then, in 2013, the rules were amended again and the number of players was increased to 20 and the competition became one where most of the players qualified via Continental Cup competitions rather than just an invitation.

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1980 - 2008

The rules relating to which players take part in the World Cup, and the playing format, have changed recently so let's take a quick look at the changes.

When the Men's World Cup started in 1980 it was for 16 selected players only.

So invitations were sent to...

  • one representative from each of the six continents
  • the top six eligible players in the world ranking list
  • the current title holder
  • a host association player and
  • two wild card entries

Additionally, not more than two players from any Association could participate unless a third was invited as a "wild card" selection.

The playing format was initially a round-robin event with four groups of four players. The top two players from each group progressed into the quarter-finals which was played on a knock-out basis. The losing semi-finalists also played a match to determine third place.


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2009 - 2012

With effect from 2009, three additional players were invited to participate, and so the playing format was also changed.

Invitations were sent to...

  • the holder of the World Cup
  • the World champion
  • the champion player or the strongest current player from each of the 6 continents
  • the top 8 players from the World Ranking List
  • 1 player from the host Association and
  • 2 "wild card" selections

But, there could still not be more than 2 players from an Association, unless a third was invited as a "wild card" selection.

 

With the addition of three extra players, the playing format was also amended.

An "Intercontinental Cup" was introduced and served as a preliminary/qualifying round for the four continental representatives from Africa, Latin America, North America and Oceania.

This was played on a group (round-robin) basis with the winner of the "Intercontinental Cup" promoted to the next stage of the event.

The final 16 players then competed in four groups of four players, on a round-robin basis, with the group winners and runners-up progressing into the quarter-finals which was played on a knock-out basis. The losing semi-finalists also played a match to determine third place.


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2013 onwards

But with effect from 2013 the event changed from being an invitational event towards an event where most of the players qualified via Continental Cups or equivalent type of tournaments.

The number of players was also increased from 19 to 20 and the following players were eligible to take part...

  • the current World champion
  • 17 players who qualified via Continental Cups or equivalent types of tournaments
  • 1 host country player nominated by his National Association
  • 1 "wild card" selected by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)

The rules also state that not more than two players from any Association can participate, but for 2013 only, a third player could be invited as a "wild card" selection.

 

With the addition of an extra player, the playing format was again amended further.

The World Cup is now played in three stages, with all matches being the best of seven games.

In stage 1, the 12 players who are the lowest-ranked of the 20 players taking part are divided into four preliminary groups of three players each, with all playing each other (round-robin) in their group.

The winners of each preliminary group then join the top 8 seeded players in the second stage of the competition.

In stage 2, the top 8 seeded players plus the 4 winners of the preliminary groups are divided into 4 groups of 3 players each, with all the members of a group playing each other (round-robin).

The top two finishers from each group then advance to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

The third and final stage is a knock-out competition, and the losers of the semi-finals also play each other to determine third place.


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Dual qualification or withdrawals

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, the available invitation place goes to the next highest eligible player on the World Ranking List.

If the World Champion is not available or withdraws, he will be replaced by the remaining highest ranked and highest finisher from the Continental Cups.

If the host association player is not available or withdraws, he will be replaced by another host association player nominated by the host association.

If the Wild Card player is not available or withdraws, he will be replaced by another Wild Card player selected by the ITTF.

If any other player is not available or withdraws, he will be replaced by the remaining highest ranked and highest finisher from the Continental Cups.

Any substitutions after the entry closing date will be decided by the ITTF.


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Previous winners

Men's World Cup

Year Location Winner Assoc. Runner-Up Assoc.
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 LiƩge 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
2013 Verviers XU Xin China SAMSONOV Vladimir Belarus
2014 Dusseldorf ZHANG Jike China MA Long China
2015 Halmstad MA Long China FAN Zhendong China

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Women's World Cup

Year Location Winner Assoc. Runner-Up Assoc.
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 Elizabeta SAMARA Romania
2013 Kobe LIU Shiwen China Wu Yang China
2014 Linz DING Ning China LI Xiaoxia China
2015 Sendai LIU Shiwen China Kasumi ISHIKAWA Japan

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2016 World Cups

The 2016 Men's World Cup will be from 1-3 October in Saarbrucken, Germany whilst the 2016 Women's World Cup will be from 7-9 October.

2015 World Cup medal winners 2015 World Cup medal winners

 

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THE WORLD CUP
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