Houston, USA, have successfully won their bid to host the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships. Earlier today the delegation presented their bid to the ITTF AGM gathering at the Corinthia Budapest Hotel, with USOC's Director of International Strategies and Development Dragomir Cioroslan, Houston Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke, USATT Board Chair Anne Warner Cribbs and 2-time US Olympian Lily Zhang leading the presentation.
A wholesome video displaying the diversity and culture of Houston was a powerful reminder of one of the many reasons to support the bid, along with an excellent run-through of the fine venues, cuisine and sporting history of the city.
Houston Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke admitted the team were "very nervous, but this was an important event for the USA, we are certainly in shock and surprise, but very excited about today's result."
Houston were humble and appreciative of the opposing bid efforts of Morocco and presented them with special gifts from Texas, USA, after the announcement.
The US delegation hosted a joint reception with China yesterday evening, showing support and unity in their bids for the WTTC. Chengdu, China, were also successful in winning the bid for the 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships.
Judy Hoarfrost, a member of the original Ping Pong Diplomacy team in 1971, was quick to point out the mirroring moment in history.
"In 1971 the US team traveled to China, then the following year in 1972 the Chinese team toured the USA," stating the similarity between USA hosting in 2021, and China in 2022, all on the 50th anniversary of that fateful moment in diplomatic history between the two nations.
With plans to host the finals at the incredible Toyota Arena in Houston, which can seat up to 18,000 spectators, this event could go down in the books as one of the best in the history of the sport, as the US delegation promised to make this a true athlete experience.
Houston is the most diverse population in the USA, so it is no surprise that a partnership with the ITTF will head its way in 2021.
"ITTF is the most inclusive federation in the world, with 227 countries and territories, this event is the perfect fit for Houston which has the most culturally diverse population in America," says Dragomir Cioroslan of the USOC.
When asked whether they believe Houston can present the best WTTC in the history of the sport, the two provide a tandem answer:
"That's the goal," says Janis. "That's the dream," follows Dragomir.
No doubt the wheels have been set in motion for something incredibly special here in Budapest. As Houston is now set to become the first host outside of Europe or Asia for a World Table Tennis Championships since Egypt in 1939.
Congratulations to Houston and the US delegation. A special thank you to Christopher Nixon Cox for travelling to Budapest in order to support the bid, and also to the bid Champion, Yao Ming, for publicly supporting the bids of USA and China.
See here the TeamUSA Press Release.