WTT Grand Smash events will now have as many ranking points as the Olympic Games ©Getty Images

World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smash events will now be worth as many ranking points as the Olympic Games and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships.

The ITTF Executive Committee approved a new rankings structure for table tennis in 2021. 

Grand Smashes will join the ITTF World Championships and the Olympic Games as the three events at the top of the rankings pyramid and will each award 2,000 points for the winners.

With up to four Grand Smashes planned each year, performance at these events will become the most critical in determining a player’s table tennis world ranking.

WTT Cup Finals and ITTF World Cup events are both set to be worth 1,500 ranking points. 

"The Grand Smashes are the cornerstone of what we promised we would deliver for table tennis," said WTT Council chair Liu Guoliang.

"This is a momentous occasion for WTT and the sport, as the ratification of the new table tennis world rankings lays the foundation for these events to become the future of the sport for our elite athletes and entertain our fans for decades to come."

WTT was set up by the ITTF in August 2019 and formally launched in March to run all of the governing body's commercial and events business from 2021. 

It aims to modernise the commercial business activities of table tennis and has led to the introduction of a series of new events, with the promise of increased prize money and a more modern experience for fans, broadcasters, players and hosts.

The Olympic Games, WTT Grand Smashes and ITTF World Championships will now all be worth 2,000 ranking points ©Getty Images
The Olympic Games, WTT Grand Smashes and ITTF World Championships will now all be worth 2,000 ranking points ©Getty Images

This has been criticised by some ITTF member associations, however, with the German Table Tennis Federation (DTTB) claiming the implementation of WTT had violated "essential principles of good governance and transparency".

The DTTB had raised concerns regarding the ranking points attributed to WTT events, claiming these contests would soon be viewed as having a higher value than the Olympic Games or World Championships. 

Grand Smashes will debut in 2021 and the announcement for the first two cities to host the contest will be made by WTT shortly. 

"Grand Smashes as our marquee events will unlock the potential of table tennis and help further grow the industry of the sport," said WTT director and ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton. 

"It will have a tremendous impact on the overall development of table tennis worldwide, ultimately bringing benefit to all stakeholders, not just our players and fans, but to our member associations as well."

Other changes to the rankings include a return of youth events to the overall structure and the re-establishment of the pathway from youth to senior table tennis world rankings. 

A number of new ranking initiatives have also been introduced, including the creation of a separate Olympic ranking list where points earned at WTT events are converted based on the previous ITTF world rankings, to be used for Tokyo 2020 qualification.