New dates for Mark Bates Ltd Nationals

Paul Stimpson

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Please note - this news article was published more than one year ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

The Mark Bates Ltd Senior National Championships 2021 have a new date – January 29-31 – and more players are being given the chance to qualify.

The flagship event has been moved from its customary weekend at the beginning of March because the postponed World Team Championships have now been rescheduled to encompass the original date for the Nationals.

As things stand, the University of Nottingham remains the venue for the Nationals and is also due to host the Mark Bates Ltd Qualifying Tournament as scheduled, on January 9-10.

The Qualifying Tournament will provide a route to the Nationals for more players, with 14 men and 14 women having the chance to get through, up from 10 places each in the last two seasons.

Those who qualify will join the top 16 players in the rankings, plus two wildcards, in the main Nationals.

The wildcard places have been reintroduced for this season in all singles categories except the para events.

In other changes to the format of the event, standing para classes will be expanded from classes 7-10 to classes 6-10 at the request of British Para Table Tennis.

The Under-21 events will change to straight knockout (best of 5), with 16 entrants in both men’s and women’s draws, as the current format has proved increasingly unsustainable in terms of fitting into the schedule.

A number of other changes to national competitions have been implemented:

  • Reintroduction of wildcards to singles categories for the Mark Bates Ltd Cadet & Junior Nationals and the Mark Bates Ltd U10-U13 Nationals.
  • Introduction of no coaching during matches at the Under-12 National Cup for 20/21. This is to assist players on the England performance pathway to develop their tactical awareness and emotional control, in order to prepare for the demands of higher level and international competition in the future. Coaches will be able to attend and work with their players at the event, but not to coach during matches. If successful, this could be phased in subsequent years to Cadet and Junior events (no selection policies will be based on events with restricted coaching).
  • 4* events to provide an entry route to the Mark Bates Ltd Cadet & Junior Nationals – in addition to places decided by the national rankings, up to 10 4* finalists will receive an automatic invitation in boys’ and girls’ cadet and junior events, and 4* entrants will qualify for remaining places from a leaderboard, with players accruing points for reaching certain stages of a 4* event. Further details about this will be available in the prospectus, which will be published shortly (and subject to any changes related to COVID-19).


Due to the curtailed 2019/20 season, the customary 10% reduction in ranking points for the new season will NOT be applied.

The final rankings run for 2019/20 will be published today and members are asked to check their accounts and advise us of any errors as soon as possible before the 2020/21 season-opening rankings lists will be published next week.

We can also confirm that any months of the 2020/21 season during which sanctioned activity is cancelled or postponed by Table Tennis England due to COVID-19 will NOT count towards players’ inactivity periods.

Click here for ranking publication dates for 2020/21.

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