Durban To Host Historic 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals
September 29, 2020
The 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals will be staged in Durban, South Africa, after Member Associations voted during the 2020 ITTF AGM held on Monday 28th September.
It’s an historic 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.
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.
Durban won 90 votes (69.77%) to beat off competition from the other candidate city, 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.
“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. 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.” – Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF Deputy President
“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.” – Joe Carrim, President of the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB)
HISTORIC FIRST VIRTUAL ITTF AGM
For the first time ever, the ITTF AGM was held virtually to enable the safest possible solution amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF Executive Vice President of Finance Petra Sörling, ITTF CEO Steve Dainton, ITTF Secretary General Raul Calin, ITTF Chief Financial Officer Michael Brown and ITTF Member Relations Director Mounir Bessah spoke from Doha, Qatar, to deliver messages across a number of key topics.
ITTF President Thomas Weikert was unable to travel to Doha, having come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient last week and therefore needed to quarantine until receiving the all clear on Sunday evening.
There was 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 in November 2020, among other key decisions.
TWO MAJOR GOVERNANCE REFORMS
Monday’s AGM saw major reforms to the ITTF Constitution with the creation of an ITTF Tribunal, which assumes the judicial powers previously belonging to the ITTF Executive Committee, and an ITTF Integrity Unit. Both reforms will provide yet another important step towards improving the ITTF’s governance.
TWO MAJOR MEETINGS IN 2021
The ITTF has voted in favour of holding one Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in conjunction with the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan, Korea Republic, which has been rescheduled to take place between 22nd February and 1st March 2021 following its postponement this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plans for the AGM are to be held towards the end of 2021, to serve as an opportunity to review what is set up to be an intense year for the sport with the introduction of World Table Tennis events and also the proposed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games during the summer.