Excitement is building in Busan, South Korea, ahead of the 2024  International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Team Finals. The last scheduled World Team Finals that were supposed to be held in 2020 were canceled, with the last iteration of the finals staged nearly 10 years ago in Malaysia (2016). The revival of this nearly 100-year-old premier competition to crown the top table tennis teams only adds to the growing anticipation.

Why are the World Team Table Tennis Championships important?

In an Olympic year, the stakes are always high, as each team competes to secure a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The eight quarterfinalists in both the men’s and women’s events will earn a team quota place in Paris. A team quota is comprised of three athletes from a National Olympic Committee.

In addition, the highest-ranked team on the World Team rankings, published after the World Team Championship Finals that has not yet qualified for the Olympics, will also clinch a spot to compete at the Summer Games.

Format of play

In total, 40 teams will compete in the men’s and women’s events. Play kicks off on Friday, Feb. 16, with round-robin competition. Each team will compete to advance to the knockout rounds. A match is decided by best-of-five singles matches, with individual matches consisting of best-of-five games.

The women's team final will be played on Saturday, Feb. 24 and the men's gold medal match will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Teams to watch

Since 2012, China has dominated the competition, holding the titles for both the men’s and women’s teams. The 2024 World Team Championships Finals  rosters includes the top athletes from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

In the men’s division, 2020 Tokyo gold and silver medalists Ma Long and Fan Zhendong will be on the campaign to win gold. Bronze medalist Dimitrij Ovtcharov will be representing Germany. 

The women’s event will also see a return of Tokyo Olympic medalists with China’s Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha. Japan's Tokyo Games bronze medalist Mima Ito will also contend.

The complete athlete list is available here.