This year’s table tennis Grand Prix series will feature equal prize money for men and women for the first time thanks to a Table Tennis England initiative.

The governing body is raising the financial rewards for women to bring them to parity with men in a move that aims to increase participation among women and girls.

The prize fund – both at individual Grand Prix events and for the overall series – will be the same for both sexes and at all Bands, beginning with the first event of the season in Liverpool this weekend.

Click here to view Liverpool GP draw

The men’s prize money has increased by 2 per cent this year and women’s prize money has been brought into line with the men’s figures.

Click here to see the breakdown of prize money for the 2014-15 Grand Prix Series

Table Tennis England Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe said: “This demonstrates our commitment to equality, not just for those who already play, but for those considering coming into our sport.

“In the past, prize money has been greater for male players because of the greater number of entries received from them.

“By injecting more money into the prize fund for women and girls, our aim is to reward those who already enter the Grand Prix series, and to encourage more entries from female players.

“We will also be encouraging all other tournament organisers to follow our lead and create equality of prize money across the board.”

Table Tennis England chair Sandra Deaton added: “This is an important step forward for our sport and for women’s sport in general. It demonstrates our commitment to an agenda of modernisation and providing a sport which can be enjoyed by everyone on equal terms.”

Current women's Grand Prix champion Karina Le Fevre

Current Grand Prix women’s champion Karina Le Fevre, who was a member of England’s Commonwealth Games team in Glasgow this summer, said: “It’s definitely good news. It costs the same for men and women to train, enter tournaments and travel to the events.

“It’s great that our commitment is being recognised by giving us the same rewards as men.

“Women’s table tennis is as dynamic and interesting to watch as men’s, and I hope this encourages many more girls and women to take up the sport.”

By Paul Stimpson
August 14th, 2014