The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has lauded the South Africa Table Tennis Board (SATTB) and all stakeholders for hosting a historic World Championships, the second one to be staged in Africa since 1939 in Cairo, Egypt.
At a press conference held on 26 May, ITTF President Petra Sörling and ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton expressed their delight at the successful organisation of such a grand event. President Sörling emphasised the significance of Africa hosting the World Championships after 84 years, hailing it as a historic moment that inspires the new generation of players on the continent, including the feat by Omar Assar in making it to the quarter-finals, which makes it only the second time in history that an African has progressed to that stage. She also highlighted the power of table tennis to unite nations and foster mutual understanding, highlighting its role in breaking barriers.
“We must commend all those who have made this event a memorable one. It serves as an inspiration to promote the sport globally and create a lasting legacy that will resonate throughout the world,” she stated.
Joe Carrim, the President of SATTB, acknowledged the challenges faced in hosting the World Championships but expressed gratitude for the immense support received from the Government of South Africa and the ITTF. He emphasised the goal of making table tennis accessible to the public and changing the perception of it being a lesser-known sport in the country. Carrim highlighted the sold-out tickets for the remaining two days of the tournament and expressed his hope that the event would position table tennis as a major sport in South Africa.
ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton praised the transformative changes made to the World Championships format since 2018, which have now come to fruition. He commended the introduction of a dynamic knockout stage from the beginning, reducing the number of players and pairs, making the tournament more exciting.
Dainton also expressed excitement about the success of the event and the potential to support other continents in hosting future championships, saying, “Of course, there will always be challenges faced in hosting big scale championships events. However, together with the SATTB, we have overcome them and put together a fantastic event. This tournament has been broadcast to over 150 countries, signifying just how huge and massively global a sporting event it is. We are looking forward to the World Championships being held in a different market, perhaps either South America or Oceania in the future. It will be a wonderful opportunity to spread the sport to all part of the world – that will be the next big step for us.”