Exactly 81 years after Africa hosted the World Table Tennis Championships, the city of Durban in South Africa on Monday September 28 beat the city of Dusseldorf in Germany to the hosting right of the 2023 World Championships.
The two cities – Durban and Dusseldorf bid for the right to host the tournament in 2023 and after member associations of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) voted at the 2020 virtual ITTF AGM.
The vote vindicates the new format for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, coming into place in 2021, which sees continental qualification precede the Finals event, thus making it more feasible for more countries to host.
To win the right, Durban won 90 votes (69.77%) to beat off competition from Düsseldorf, Germany, who won 39 votes (30.23%).
Düsseldorf had been bidding to stage the event again following the resounding success of the 2017 edition.
With this development, this is historic being the first time that the ITTF’s most prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo, Egypt, in 1939.
For the ITTF Deputy President, Khalil Al-Mohannadi, the hosting of the tournament by South Africa is a confirmation of the ever-increasing international appeal of table tennis.
“Congratulations to both South Africa and Germany on presenting very strong bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals,” Al-Mohannadi said.
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. 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.”
Joe Carrim, President of the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB), said this has shown that Africa has come of age in hosting major international competition.
“I am obviously ecstatic and beside myself with joy. The sleepless nights and all the hard work have paid off. I want to say to Germany that their presentation was absolutely superb.
I did not want to take our success at all for granted, given all their experience, and I am certain that they will come up again (to host the World Table Tennis Championships Finals) in future.
I want to thank the world of table tennis and the ITTF for entrusting us with the confidence with the team that we have, the city that we have, and the support from the government that we have to host this event. We are certain that we will make everyone who supported us extremely proud of having placed their trust in us to take the baton forward and host a World Championships worthy of the trust that you have given us.”
The President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, this is another confirmation that the continent is capable of hosting the world while the record of South Africa in staging international competitions would also come to fore.
“This is a real proof to show the whole world that Africa can do it and by gaining a good level of trust. Congratulations to all Africa,” he said.