The South African Table Tennis Board has unveiled Takuma, the official mascot for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals.
Speaking about the mascot, ITTF President Petra Sörling said, “We are thrilled to see the unveiling of Takuma as the official mascot for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals 2023. Mascots have a special ability to engage and excite audiences, especially younger fans, and we believe that Takuma will serve as a great ambassador for table tennis in South Africa and around the world. We hope that Takuma’s presence will help us to attract more young people to the sport and inspire a new generation of table tennis players.”
Takuma has a special origin story. Designed by Tumelo Nkoana, a 13-year-old from Mogogelo Village north of Pretoria in South Africa, Takuma was selected as the official mascot for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Nkoana’s winning design, a hand-drawn entry of a hippo, symbolised the strength and spirit of South Africa and beat out 182 other entrants from different schools across the nation. Since then, Takuma has become the mascot for all sports in South Africa.
Takuma represents not only the event but also the creativity and talent of South Africa’s youth. “Takuma’s story is a testament to the power of creativity and imagination in shaping our world,“ added ITTF President Petra Sörling.
The newly unveiled mascot is set to become a vital part of the event’s success. The hippopotamus symbolises strength and abundance in African culture, and Takuma will be used to create excitement and increase team spirit and morale before and during the tournament. Fans in Durban will have the opportunity to see the mascot all over the city, as it will be used to increase team visibility and promote team sponsors, merchandise, and other marketing activities.
With the unveiling of Takuma, excitement is building as we near the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, the first time the event will be held in Africa in 84 years. The ITTF’s decision to hold the event in Durban is a testament to its commitment to the global development of table tennis. This is an important milestone for the sport and ITTF believes that this historic event will provide a platform for the sport to grow further in Africa. The tournament is set to take place from 20 to 28 May 2023 at the Durban International Convention Centre and promises to be a thrilling showcase of the world’s best table tennis players.