Lagos — The city of Durban in South Africa has beaten the city of Dusseldorf in Germany to the hosting right of the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships.
The last time any African country hosted the tournament was 81 years ago.
Both Durban and Dusseldorf bid for the right to host the tournament in 2023 and Durban won 90 votes (69.77%) to beat off competition from Düsseldorf, Germany, who won 39 votes (30.23%).
Member associations of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) voted at the 2020 virtual ITTF AGM on Monday, September 28.
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.
Düsseldorf had been bidding to stage the event again following the resounding success of the 2017 edition.
The ITTF's most prestigious event, which will be hosted for the first time in South Africa, was last hosted in Africa in Cairo, Egypt, in 1939.
The ITTF Deputy President, Khalil Al-Mohannad said, "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."
On his part, the President of the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB), Joe Carrim said this has shown that Africa has come of age in hosting major international competition.
"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," he said.