Durban ready to host International Table Tennis Finals

Monday, May 22, 2023

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, says Durban is ready to dish out its authentic African hospitality to 600 athletes participating at the International Table Tennis Finals (ITTF) held in Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).

“Our vast experience in hosting global events such as the launch of the African Union, FIFA World Cup preliminary draw and finals and the Comrades Marathon will give you a sporting experience of a lifetime,” Dube-Ncube said.

Speaking at the official opening of the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships on Saturday, Dube-Ncube highlighted that as KwaZulu-Natal repositions to become a Smart Province, they are equally transposing the province to become the sporting mecca of the world and “we will continue to attract more global events of this nature in the future”.

She said South Africa may be ranked 93rd in the Table Tennis nations, but “we are the country and continent of champions. We are champions in our own right”.

“Our winning started on 28 September 2020 when South Africa was awarded the rights to host the finals, we became only the second African country to host this prestigious event since Egypt, 84 years ago.

“We have been hard at work preparing for this day. Yes, together we have done it for the peoples of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Africa and the World,” the Premier said.

Taking place from 20 – 28 May 2023, the ITTF is the largest and most prestigious table tennis event held annually and attracts over 500 million viewers globally.

The event will be hosted over seven days with top players from over 200 countries, including the top 128 players in Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles, as well as the top 64 pairs in Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

Dube-Ncube commits that when the competition ends, the local communities in townships and rural areas will benefit from the tournament, through a three-year Social Cohesion Legacy Programme.

She said this will be through training, coaching, infrastructure and other support being deployed to unearth the next world-class player from the province.

“We want to extend the footprint of the game to focus on schools, townships and our rural areas. We want to be the centre of table tennis technical training hub for players, referees and umpires.

“We are certain that our youth in the rural areas and townships will find the sport exciting and will develop interest in it. In that way table tennis will grow once again in the province and will be one of the instruments that can all use to fight social ills across the world,” Dube-Ncube said. –