October 21 - Dubai has won the hosting rights for the 2013 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour Grand Finals, the sport's world governing body announced today.
The showpiece competition, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates city on January 9 until 12 next year, is the finale of the 2013 World Tour and will feature the world's best table tennis players, including the likes of China's world number ones Ma Long and Liu Shiwen.
Only the top 16 men and women singles, eight men and women doubles pairs and eight under-21 singles athletes with the most World Tour points, and who have participated in at least five World Tour events, will compete in the Finals in the hope of winning the $1 million (£620,000/€730,000) prize money.
This year's event will also see Hollywood movie star and ping pong fan Susan Sarandon making the draw at the new SPiN Dubai club.
"After visiting Dubai and meeting with the UAETTA [UAE Table Tennis Association] President, Mr Dawoud El-Hajri, I am very confident that we will have a great event in Dubai," ITTF President Adham Sharara said.
"In addition, we have made arrangements for many other activities at that time, including the 2nd Dream Building fund-raising dinner and many other surprises.
"It will be for sure a week to remember and a great way to start 2014."
Still to come from the 2013 World Tour are the Polish Open in Spała on November 6-10, the German Open in Berlin on November 13-17, the Russian Open in Ekaterinburg on November 20-24 and the Swedish Open in Stockholm on November 27 to December 1.
The Middle East has already appeared frequently on the international table tennis calendar, with both Kuwait and Qatar regularly hosting World Tour events, while the ITTF World Team Championships took place in Qatar in 2004.
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