History was made yesterday when South African city Durban was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals after Member Associations voted for it during the 2020 ITTF AGM held on Monday 28 September 28.
It will be the first time in history that the ITTF’s most prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo played host to the competition way back in 1939.
Durban won 90 votes to ward off competition from the other candidate city and 2017 hosts Düsseldorf in Germany, who garnered 39 votes during the AGM.
ITTF President Thomas Weikert was unable to travel to Doha after being placed in quarantine after coming in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient last week. However, Deputy President Al Mohannadi was quick to offer his congratulations to Durban for their successful bid.
“Congratulations to both South Africa and Germany on presenting very strong bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals. 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,” he said.
“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.
South Africa will also play host to the 2023 Netball World Cup, with Cape Town having won that bid last year.
The AGM also featured a special report on the impact of COVID-19 on global table tennis, as the sport prepares for a return to action via the #RESTART series that gets under way from November.
The #RESTART will feature three of the most prestigious ITTF events, namely the 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup, 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup and the 2020 ITTF Finals. All three events will be held in China with the Women’s World Cup from November 8-10 followed by the men’s event from November 13-15 and the ITTF Finals from November 19-22.