The draw for the highly anticipated ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals Durban 2023 took place today, marking a historic moment as the event returns to African soil for the first time in 84 years. The stage is set for an extraordinary tournament, showcasing the best table tennis talents from around the globe, and cementing the growth of the sport in Africa.
The draw, held at the Coastlands Musgrave Hotel, unveiled the paths that 128 players in Men’s and Women’s singles, along with 64 pairs in each of the doubles categories, will navigate in their pursuit of glory. The straight knockout format also promises exciting match ups from the opening day on 20 May till 28 May.
Attempting to do their nation proud are South Africans Danisha Patel and Musfiqah Kalam, who could face each other in the round of 64 if they beat Japanese sensation Miyu Nagasaki and Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz respectively.
Dina Meshref (EGY), Africa’s top ranked female player, represents the continent’s hopes as she prepares to go up against Singaporean Zhou Jingyi, while 2023 African Cup champion Hana Goda (EGY) will face Swiss Rachel Moret.
For the Men’s singles, there could an early rematch of the 2021 final as defending champion Fan Zhendong (CHN) and Truls Moregard (SWE) were seeded in the same side of the draw. Continental hopes for Africa will rest on top players Quadri Aruna (NGR) and Omar Assad (EGY). Aruna has a potential matchup with Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) in the quarter-finals; while he dispatched the fourth seed with ease at the Singapore Smash 2023, all eyes will be on him to pull off another upset in Durban to bring glory to Africa.
Host nation South Africa champion Theo Cogill will start his campaign against Kao Cheng–Jui from Chinese Taipei while the youngest member of the South African team, 18-year-old Dean Levy, will take on another African star, Senegalese Ibrahima Diaw in the first round of the men’s singles.
Dean Levy, who was present at the seeds draw, said, “I am excited to attend my first World Championships in my country, especially in the presence of top-class players. Witnessing the draw was an interesting experience for me and I hope I can set a record as the first South African to go beyond the first round of the World Championships. It is indeed a privilege for me to represent my country in such a big tournament and I look forward to giving my best.”
Pairs competing in the Women’s Doubles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were also drawn today, visit WTT’s website here to see them.
The ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals Durban 2023 is poised to captivate audiences with its unique blend of world-class competition and cultural vibrancy. Media representatives and table tennis enthusiasts are invited to witness the thrilling moments that will unfold during this historic event. The official media guide for the event is also available for download here!