Rockford, Illinois, has landed its first Olympic Trials after being awarded the 2019 ITTF North American Olympic Table Tennis Trials, which is scheduled to take place October 5 at the BMO Harris Bank Center. The announcement was made by Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Rockford Area Venues & Entertainment Authority (RAVE) and the International Table Tennis Federation.

“All eyes will be on Rockford in October as we host this incredible international event,” said Rockford Area CVB President and CEO John Groh. “We will get to watch the best table tennis players from Canada and the United States compete for the opportunity to represent North America at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It’s very exciting for Rockford and for sports enthusiasts that the Road to Tokyo will go through Rockford.”

The convention and visitors bureau is also planning to announce community awareness programs and events in the lead-up to the trials.

“This event puts Rockford on the international map as a destination for sports,” said Craig Thomas, the chairman of the board of directors for RAVE, which manages three of Rockford’s downtown entertainment venues, including the BMO Harris Bank Center. “We know we have world-class facilities, and this is a chance to show them off to a worldwide audience.”

The Olympic Trials will feature men’s and women’s teams representing Team USA and Team Canada, with winners qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. This marks the first time since 2012 that the North American Table Tennis Trials have been held in the United States. Cary, North Carolina, staged the trials in 2012.

“We are excited and fortunate for the opportunity to partner with the city of Rockford,” said ITTF North America Regional Director Tony Kiesenhofer. “Rockford’s world-class facilities will provide the backdrop for our event, and the teams at the RACVB and BMO Harris Bank Center understand our vision of the trials and are working hard to leave a legacy for table tennis in the city.”