“The world ranking is now more representative of the current level of players”

The latest proposal made by the World Ranking Working Group (WRWG) has been approved. It includes the complete removal of “initial points”, the extension of the validity of all points earned in 2021 senior events and the restriction of the number of youth events counting towards the senior classification.

The changes take effect from today, Tuesday May 3, being included in the “ITTF World Table Tennis Rankings 2022 – Week 18”.

Wahid Oshodi, ITTF Executive Committee Member and WRWG Chairman, explains:

ITTF.com: Who is on the WRWG and how did you prepare the recommendations for the Executive Committee?

Wahid Oshodi: The formation and composition of the WRWG was decided by resolution of the ITTF Annual General Meeting in Houston, November 2021. It is made up of nine members representing all of the diverse interests and expertise of the ITTF. ‘ITTF in this area. It is made up of two representatives of the Athletes’ Commission (Dana Cechova and seven-time Olympian Jean-Michel Saive), the ITTF Technical Commissioner (Graeme Ireland), the WTT General Manager (Matthew Pound), three very experienced Continental Federations and Member Associations (Li Xiaoxia, Lincon Yasuda and Richard Prause), the Head of ITTF World Ranking (Javier Angulo) and myself as ITTF Executive Vice President and Chairman of the band.

We communicated regularly ahead of our April 21 meeting, where we made a decision on resolutions and proposals to forward to the ITTF Executive Committee. I am extremely happy that the process was successful and that all our proposals and resolutions were approved unanimously. Player rating issues are very important in our sport and I am confident that the WRWG will have a great impact on improving and resolving historical issues surrounding rating.

“Initial points” were introduced in 2020, adding a fixed number of points to the top eight results achieved. Due to Covid-19 and the difficulty in organizing events, they have been held longer and reduced to a slower pace than originally planned. Why did the working group decide to completely remove these “initial points” now?

After a long and serious consideration, the WRWG decided to recommend the removal of the “initial points” for various practical reasons.

The abnormal situation brought to the world by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from organizing planned events, and the “initial points” allowed us to keep the world ranking alive, but some of these “initial points” included points of events as old as in 2018. As the pandemic subsides, we have been able to organize more events around the world.

The general feeling among players, fans and ourselves was that the rankings weren’t really representative of the current level of players. Some players who have made rapid progress over the past year have not seen their performance accurately reflected in the leaderboards. It was therefore time to remove these “initial points”. I believe that a few other International Federations have taken similar measures to ours.

We are convinced that players’ performances in tournaments will have an immediate impact on their ranking allowing them to climb the rankings, giving them the opportunity to participate in high-level events; with this change, performances in the many upcoming events will get the rankings they deserve and generate some interesting moves in the weeks and months to come.

Do you expect more changes to the World Ranking rules this year?

The pandemic has forced us to make exceptional adjustments to the rankings which, alongside the current difficulties in hosting international events, has resulted in a ranking system that has yet to be properly and fully evaluated. We have also introduced some big changes in 2021 with the arrival of World Table Tennis.

We will spend the rest of this year just reviewing the effect of these changes as well as comprehensively reviewing the ranking rules, points for events, and all other factors relevant to rankings.

With Olympic qualification coming up, we need to be careful to provide stability for all Member Associations and athletes to allow them to plan their season with the security of having rules and regulations that they know will not change too often.

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