The ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals 2023 in Durban, South Africa, witnessed a remarkable collaboration between the ITTF and the ITTF Foundation, as they showcased their partnership with Parkinson’s ZA. The collaboration included equipment donation to empower persons with Parkinson’s with key table tennis skills and drills that can directly contribute to improved physical and mental health and create future opportunities for them.
Significantly, the ITTF Foundation and Parkinson’s ZA also announced that they will invite one local man and woman to participate at the 2023 World Parkinson’s Championships in Crete, Greece later this year. These participants will become the first African athletes to compete in this event, a groundbreaking opportunity to show how global the World Table Tennis for Health Festival plans to be.
As part of an ongoing partnership with Parkinson’s ZA, the ITTF Foundation introduced table tennis activities specially adapted for persons with Parkinson’s in the local community of Durban.
“Table Tennis is a sport that has shown great benefits for people afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease,” Petra Sörling, ITTF President, said in a statement. “Our commitment to ensuring a legacy at Durban 2023 extends beyond high level players and to those who benefit the most from having access to table tennis equipment.”
Since the beginning of the World Championships, the ITTF Foundation has offered workshops aimed at caregivers and persons who wish to deliver table tennis sessions for those affected by Parkinson’s and offered introductory sessions for players seeking more information about the sport.
A later session was held on 25 May at the Durban International Convention Centre, the venue of the World Championships. More than 60 individuals, including persons with Parkinson’s, caregivers, family members, and members of the local table tennis community, enthusiastically participated in table tennis-related games and activities. The event also marked a significant milestone in the partnership as official equipment donations were made, symbolising a commitment that extends far beyond the conclusion of the World Championships.
Among those present was Terry McLernon, Chairman of Table Tennis Scotland, which has supported several activities aimed at players with Parkinson’s. He expressed the importance of raising awareness about the benefits of table tennis.
“More people with Parkinson’s should be aware that playing table tennis will help with their movement and mental health. Parkinson’s is a disease that does not discriminate – anyone can get it. We must get the message out there that any physical activity is beneficial for them, table tennis in particular.”
“We are incredibly grateful for the partnership with the ITTF Foundation to complement our weekly multidisciplinary workshop with Table Tennis.” Rakesh Harribhai, founder of Parkinson’s ZA said in a statement. “This will go a long way for our mission in helping topromote healthy activity for those seeking it.”
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!