Mixed Doubles has been added to the Table Tennis Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020, which was announced at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Committee meeting in Lausanne today.
The Mixed Doubles event has been a constant fixture in ITTF’s World Championships since 1926, and will now make its first Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020.
On the decision, ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT stated: “The ITTF is extremely happy to have Mixed Doubles added to the Olympic Programme. Table Tennis obtained very high television and social media numbers at Rio 2016, so we feel that a fifth gold medal was deserved. At last week’s World Championships, a sellout crowd of 8,000 people watched the Mixed Doubles final, so we know that the public has an appetite for this exciting event and it will be a huge success at Tokyo 2020.”
Fittingly, just six days ago, the Japanese pair of Kasumi ISHIKAWA and Maharu YOSHIMURA were crowned Mixed Doubles World Champions in Dusseldorf, Germany and will now have the chance to turn their World title into an Olympic gold on home soil in three years’ time.
After hearing the announcement, ISHIKAWA stated: “I am so happy that Mixed Doubles will be included in Tokyo 2020. I have so much fun playing Mixed Doubles, and now that I have a chance of winning gold in this cool event in front of my home crowd is a dream come true!”
A record 15% of the total viewing audience on TV Tokyo in Japan tuned in to watch the Japanese pair strike gold, which shows the popularity of the event in Japan which is great signs for Tokyo 2020.
Japanese victory at the World Championships follows in the footsteps of Korea Republic & China’s international paring gold in 2015 and Korea DPR’s historic win back in 2013 which makes Mixed Doubles the most unpredictable and exciting event!
Raul CALIN, ITTF Director of Operations and Olympic/Paralympic Games, stated: “Since table tennis joined the Olympic Games programme in 1988, we tried on two previous occasions to add Mixed Doubles. The ITTF wants to thank the IOC Executive Board, the Olympic programme commission led by Mr Franco Carraro, Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and the IOC Summer Sports Department for their consideration of our application. It has been a long and exciting journey, but now with the inclusion, an even more exciting journey begins.”
The Mixed Doubles event means that table tennis will have five gold medals at Tokyo 2020: Men’s singles, Women’s singles, Men’s team, Women’s team and now Mixed Doubles.
Check out a special tribute video to mark the occasion: https://youtu.be/1IlQOGIPBQ8