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29 Sep 2020

Durban to host World Table Tennis Championships in 2023

The International Table Tennis Federation has awarded hosting rights for the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships to Durban in South Africa.

Durban will become the first South African city to host the biennial event after yesterday defeating a rival bid from Düsseldorf in Germany at the ITTF’s virtual annual general meeting by 90 votes to 39.

Germany has hosted the event on six previous occasions, including in Düsseldorf in 2017.

Table tennis' flagship event joins various events to have been awarded to Durban since it was stripped of the 2022 Commonwealth Games after failing to provide financial guarantees. 

Joe Carrim, South African Table Tennis Board president, said: “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 worth of the trust that you have given us.”

The Durban International Conference Centre has been selected as the proposed venue for the 2023 World Championships.

It will be the third edition to employ a new qualifying format, in which continental qualifying precedes the finals, making it more feasible to host.

The first tournament under the expanded format will take place in the US city of Houston in 2021, and the second in Chengdu in China in 2022.

Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF deputy president, said: “We are continuing to see benefits from the forthcoming changes to the format of the World Championship 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.”

At the virtual general meeting, the ITTF also approved the establishment of ITTF Tribunal, which will take on the disciplinary powers previously given to the executive committee.

An ITTF Integrity Unit will also be set up similar to the bodies already in place at World Athletics and the International Biathlon Union.