In a first, the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals will be staged in Durban, South Africa.
The announcement was made at the ITTF’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday, the first ever virtually conducted AGM in the table tennis governing body’s history. Durban won 90 votes (69.77 per cent) to beat off competition from the other candidate city, Dusseldorf, Germany, who won 39 votes (30.23 per cent), as per an ITTF media release.
This will be the first time that the prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo, Egypt, in 1939.
The new format for the World Table Tennis Championships Finals will come into place in 2021, requiring participants to contend for berths through continental qualifications, thus making it more feasible for more countries and regions to host the event.
“We are continuing to see benefits from the forthcoming changes to the format of the World Championships Finals, which will be introduced from next year onwards, leading to more countries bidding from different regions of the world,” said Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF Deputy President.
“This also reflects the ever-increasing international appeal of table tennis, which is extremely pleasing to see as we continue to work hard to make the sport more global in the future,” he added.
“I am obviously ecstatic and beside myself with joy. The sleepless nights and all the hard work have paid off,” Joe Carrim, President of the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB), said.
Meanwhile, Yao Zhenxu, former Vice President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), was appointed Personal Honorary Member of the ITTF for his long-time commitment to international table tennis.