As the historic ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals 2023 captivate fans in Durban, South Africa, the ITTF is proud to witness the positive impact of its groundbreaking reforms to the World Championships format. These bold changes have ushered in a new era of inclusivity and global representation for the sport, enabling the ITTF to bring its most prestigious event to new countries and fostering growth and excitement within the table tennis community.
For the first time in more than 80 years, the event has ventured outside of Europe and Asia, expanding its reach to the Americas and Africa. Houston 2021 and Durban 2023 stand as a testament to the superb results of the ITTF’s bold reform, filling the ITTF and the table tennis family with immense pride.
The ITTF Group CEO, Steve Dainton, expressed his excitement about the success of the new format and the future possibilities, stating, “This is an incredible legacy that we will continue fostering, exploring new territories such as Latin America and Oceania. We are committed to making table tennis a truly global game, providing equal opportunities for all member associations to participate and host this extraordinary competition.”
The transformative changes to the World Championships format were initiated three years ago by the Board of Directors. The decision to introduce a dynamic knockout stage from the very beginning, reducing the number of players to 128 in men’s and women’s singles and 64 pairs in each doubles event, has revolutionized the event.
This streamlined format has not only allowed for greater efficiency but has also facilitated scalability, making it possible to successfully host the World Championships in Durban. Despite the challenges faced during the preparation of hosting a major table tennis event in Africa, the resilience and dedication of the organizers, in collaboration with the ITTF Group team, have resulted in a remarkable showcase of table tennis and the vibrant spirit of South Africa.
The bold and necessary reforms of the World Championships format have also breathed new life into the tournament, expanding its reach and propelling the sport to new territories, ensuring greater inclusivity and expanding the event’s global footprint.
“The new format has not only expanded the event’s reach but has also enhanced its attractiveness and how well our sport can be presented,” explained Dainton. The venue in Durban exemplifies this, with its awe-inspiring courts, including a theatre-style and an arena-style court.
The ITTF remains committed to its vision of making table tennis a truly global game, providing equal opportunities for all member associations to participate and host this extraordinary competition. It is confident that this historic event in Durban will inspire a new generation of table tennis enthusiasts in South Africa and beyond. The World Championships in Durban stand as a testament to the power of bold reforms, opening new horizons for table tennis and shaping the future of the sport.
Follow all the action from the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals Durban 2023 on our website and stay up to date with the full results, draws and match schedules. Obtain free photos for editorial use here. The last few remaining tickets for the event can be purchased on the official ticketing website. Join us in Durban and witness history in the making!