Para table tennis is one of three new sports that could be added to the programme of events at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Under proposals which were given approval by the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Executive Board, women’s T20 cricket and beach volleyball have also been recommended for inclusion in the programme.
Para table tennis was included in the last Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast last year, where England’s Ross Wilson and Kim Daybell won gold and silver respectively, with Josh Stacey of Wales taking bronze.
The three sports were chosen to be added to the programme following presentations from national and international governing bodies to an ‘Additional Sports Review Panel’, whose recommendations were then approved by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games board.
As part of this process, Table Tennis England, supported by the ITTF, had pitched for the inclusion of para table tennis.
These recommendations were then sent to the Commonwealth Games Federation, for consideration by both their Sports Committee and Executive Board and, now they have given the green light, the plans will be put to a final vote of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s General Assembly, which is made up of the 71 member Commonwealth Games Associations.
Sara Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of Table Tennis England, said: “I am delighted that our para athletes will hopefully have the opportunity to compete on home soil in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as part of Team England alongside the able bodied athletes.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the public to witness world class para Table Tennis and inspire more people to take part.”
The introduction of para table tennis would further the diversity of the programme by showcasing an unprecedented eighth para-sport at the Games.
Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022 said: “Ever since the sports programme for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was announced, there has been interest from all five optional sports that were not originally selected by Birmingham’s bid team and we are grateful to all of the sports for their participation and enthusiasm during this review process.
“Our recommendation of adding women’s cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis is the result of a thorough review and we believe these sports would help us to enhance the existing programme and reach new audiences, while showcasing the sports to our local community, spectators and fans across the world, watching on TV.
“It’s also a selection that could help ensure that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the most inclusive in history, with a potential for the largest ever para-sports programme and more female medallists than ever before, representing a great story not just for Birmingham 2022, but for women’s sport in general.”
CGF President, Dame Louise Martin DBE, said: “We welcome the proposal from Birmingham 2022 to include the three additional sports of women’s cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis at the Games. Following a careful review, the CGF Executive Board agreed to recommend to our Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) that they approve the proposed sports joining the programme. However, for the sports to be confirmed, we will need to receive a positive response from a minimum of 51% of the CGAs.
“We must respect this process and hope to make a positive announcement in late July or early August following the conclusion of the vote.”
Once the outcome of the General Assembly’s vote is known a second announcement will be made.