ITTF World Table Tennis Championships 2023 Launch



The world will descend on sunny Durban, South Africa, in May 2023 when the tropical city will host the World Table Tennis Championships from 22 to 28 May 2023 at the Durban International Convention Centre, the first time the championships are being held in Africa since 1939.

Boasting approximately 400 players from an expectant 227 countries across the globe, in addition to hundreds of official state, country, sports and related representatives, the Championships will have a major impact on the economy of Durban, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and indeed South Africa.

“We are excited at the prospect of hosting the world in what is one of the most popular sports on planet earth,” said a beaming Joe Carrim, President of the SA Table Tennis Board, and Leader of the LOC. “The last time that such an event was held in South Africa was twelve years ago during the FIFA World Cup. The World Table Tennis Championships promises to be just as spectacular from a sporting as well as entertainment point of view, in addition to bringing much-needed economic activity to the city and province, plus providing a wonderful opportunity for South Africa to again market itself to the world.”

“Having endured the horrors of a global pandemic, this is just what is needed and it comes at the right time.”

Carrim’s sentiments were echoed by Deputy Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture Minister, Nocawe Mafu: “We are extremely proud to once again be hosting the world on our beautiful shores. As we have always maintained, sports, arts and culture provide us with a unique opportunity to showcase South Africa to the world, whilst at the same time, fostering unity and cohesion among our people.”

Mafu said that she was particularly pleased with the LOC’s insistence on a Social Cohesion Legacy Programme, “that will see sustainable development through sport taking place in our communities. What is encouraging is that the LOC has not just focused on the hosting city or Province, but has indeed committed to implementing the legacy programme throughout the country.”

The World Table Tennis Championships will prove to provide social, tourism and economic development. According to the LOC, an estimated 5 000 bed nights are expected to be booked across the duration of the tournament, with approximately R37,5m being spent by players, officials and spectators on accommodation, vehicle hire, food, entertainment and goods.

The World Table Tennis Championships will be broadcast and covered throughout the world via television, radio, online and print publications.

“What we must also remember,” says Carrim, “Is that the ITTF AGM will also be held in Durban during that same week. The ITTF has 227 member countries, making it the largest sporting federation. So the opportunity that the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships, together with all the associated events, and legacy programme, plus the economic injection and socio-economic impact it will have represents a fantastic opportunity for the city, province, country and continent of Africa, and we urge all South Africans, all stakeholders and the media to get involved, support the event and for all of us to consider ourselves proud hosts of the world in 2023.”

MEC for Sport, Arts & Culture in KZN, Hlengiwe Mavimbela said: “As the Province of KwaZulu-Natal we feel privileged to host this international event on our shores. Our mandate as the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is to facilitate sports development and hosting such big events closer to home assists in exposing our youth to different sport codes at the highest level. The World Table Tennis Championships will leave a lasting legacy. We will work with all stakeholders to roll out the legacy programme that will elevate table tennis in our Province and South Africa. We look forward to welcoming the world to KwaZulu-Natal in 2023 and they will surely enjoy our warm hospitality, tourism attractions and world-class playing venues.”


The ITTF World Table Tennis Championships have been held since 1926, biennially since 1957. Five individual events, which include men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s double and mixed doubles, are currently held in odd numbered years. The World Team Table Tennis Championships, which include men’s team and women’s team events, were first held as their own competition in 2000. The Team Championships are held in even numbered years.

In the earlier days of the tournament, Hungary’s men’s team was a dominant force, winning the championships 12 times. This was followed by a short period of dominance by Japan in the 1950s. From the 1960s onwards, China emerged as the new dominant power in this tournament and, with the exception of 1989–2000, when Sweden won four times, China continues to dominate the sport. China’s men’s team holds a record 20 world team championship titles.

In the 1950s, Japan’s women team was a force to be reckoned with winning a total of 8 titles. The Chinese women started their strong grip on the world team championships from the 1970s onwards. They have only lost twice since 1975. China holds 21 women’s team titles.

The German women’s team won the Cup in 1939, and the original Cup disappeared during Berlin occupation after World War II; the current Corbillon Cup is a replica made in 1949. In addition, the Egypt Cup is presented to the next host of world championships. The Cup was donated by King Farouk of Egypt in 1939, when the championships were held in Cairo, Egypt.

The ITTF held individual events and team events separately for the first time in 1999 and 2000 respectively, and 2001 was the last time individual and team events were held together. Starting in 2003 individual events and team events were held separately again and each continue to be held separately every other year.


For the first time ever, the World Table Tennis Championships is coming to South Africa in 2023 and to the African continent for the first time since 1939.

This historic decision was made after Member Associations voted during the 2020 ITTF AGM held on Monday 28th September.

It’s an historic first time that the ITTF’s most prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo, Egypt, in 1939.

The vote vindicates the new format for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals, coming into place in 2021, which sees continental qualification precede the Finals event, thus making it more feasible for more countries to host.

Following the strong bid from South Africa, ably and passionately presented by Joe Carrim, Hajera Kajee, Thabang Tsheiso, Sonto Mayise, and Vusi Mazibuko,  Durban won 90 votes (69.77%) to beat off competition from the other candidate city, Düsseldorf, Germany, who won 39 votes (30.23%).

“Congratulations to both South Africa and Germany on presenting very strong bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals. We are continuing to see benefits from the forthcoming changes to the format of the World Championships Finals, which will be introduced from next year onwards, leading to more countries bidding from different regions of the world. This also reflects the ever-increasing international appeal of table tennis, which is extremely pleasing to see as we continue to work hard to make the sport more global in the future.” – Khalil Al-Mohannadi, ITTF Deputy President

“I am obviously ecstatic and beside myself with joy. The sleepless nights and all the hard work have paid off. I want to say to Germany that their presentation was absolutely superb. I did not want to take our success at all for granted, given all their experience, and I am certain that they will come up again (to host the World Table Tennis Championships Finals) in future. I want to thank the world of table tennis and the ITTF for entrusting us with the confidence with the team that we have, the city that we have, and the support from the government that we have to host this event. We are certain that we will make everyone who supported us extremely proud of having placed their trust in us to take the baton forward and host a World Championships worthy of the trust that you have given us.” – Joe Carrim, President of the South African Table Tennis Board (SATTB).

Following South Africa’s successful hosting of the 1999 All Africa Games, the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and numerous other international competitions, the ITTF World Champs 2023 Durban is set to be yet another showcase of the country’s prowess in receiving the world and advertising itself and its unique selling propositions.


“We are more than ready to host the world!” says eThekwini’s Executive Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, in anticipation of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships which will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre from 22 to 29 May 2023.

“We have the infrastructure, transportation networks, hotels, restaurants, lively entertainment spots, among the world’s best sporting venues, a unique African experience, the most beautiful and welcoming people in the world renowned for our South African friendliness, and of course, our famous weather,” says Mayor Kaunda.

MEC for Sport, Arts & Culture, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, reinforced the city’s and province’s readiness: “We have partnered with the SA Table Tennis Board, KZN Tourism and all our stakeholders to ensure that we show the world, once again, that South Africa, with its unique landscapes, flora, fauna, and culture is the world’s best country, and KZN, with our heritage, Zulu experience, pristine beaches, perfect climate and the friendliest people, is a magnificent province that is a must-see for the world.”

“We invite all the players, officials, spectators and observers to our beautiful shores. Please feel welcome in our Province and while you are here, please take the time to explore our lovely Province and country and see the wonder that is South Africa.”


The World Table Tennis Championships is one the world’s largest sporting events, that is followed and supported by billions across the globe.

Spanning eleven days for the tournament itself – not including the players and organisers arriving before the event – the World Table Tennis championships boasts phenomenal media coverage due to the support that the sport holds among all continents, transcending languages, cultures, ages, gender and geography.

The Championships will see a minimum of 3 500 broadcast hours being screened on major TV stations in countries across the world, including Europe, Asia and the Americas. A worldwide cumulative audience of approximately 250 million over the Championships, millions of social media followers on various platforms, the World Table Tennis Championships will realise a broadcast and online media value in excess of a billion rand.

With players from South America, North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, the World Table Tennis Championships in Durban 2023 can look forward to 500 million social media impressions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, not mention the various other platforms that individual players may choose to use.

In addition to covering the tournament itself, broadcasters are expected to prominently feature the City of Durban, the Province of KwaZuluNatal, and all her people, with a rich tapestry of cultures, focusing on tourism and leisure, people, social inserts and the local economy.

Companies are encouraged to partner with the tournament in order to maximise the global brand opportunities that the World Table Tennis Championships provides.


As part of the build-up to the World Table Tennis Championships in 2023, the South African Table Tennis Board will host a series of events that will focus on promoting social cohesion throughout all communities, using the medium of the growing sport of Table Tennis. The package and roll-out of these events have been labelled as the “Social Cohesion Legacy Programme”, and constitutes one of the key deliverables of the SATTB in hosting the World Champs. The Social Cohesion Legacy Programme represents the ideology of unity through sport, in this case Table Tennis.

The objective of the Social Cohesion Legacy Programme takes on special significance in KZN after the province experienced racial tensions in July 2021.

The second legacy event takes place on Saturday, 28 May 2023, at the Kwamashu Sports Stadium, just north of the City of Durban.  The first was held in Phoenix, Durban, April this year. Both these areas fall within the jurisdiction of the eThekwini Table Tennis Association (ETTA), an affiliate of the SATTB.

The Kwamashu table tennis Social Cohesion Legacy Programme, commencing at 09h00, features a knock-out tournament for all age groups under 18. Clubs and players affiliated with ETTA have been invited to participate, and there will be 80 players competing.

There will be a development segment, where 45 children from nine schools are invited to experience the game of table tennis. They will be given an opportunity to play the game under supervision and guidance by professional coaches.

The leadership, both political and faith-based, from the area will deliver messages of non-racism, peace, unity and harmony and, in so doing, promote the ideology of social cohesion.

Cultural items will be staged to celebrate South Africa’s diverse heritage and culture.

The SATTB shall present a table tennis board to each of the nine schools, and these schools will be part of the coaching legacy program that will be coordinated by the ETTA on behalf of the SATTB.

All of the attendees at the event represent a mixed culture of our communities.

The Kwamashu table tennis Social Cohesion Legacy Programme follows through on the launch of the World Championships 2023 and the release of the Championships logo and branding that took place on Friday, 27 May 2022.


The 2023 World Table Tennis Championships logo – that was unveiled at a prestigious media and stakeholders function in Durban on Friday, 27 May, featuring an array of national, provincial and city government and sports officials – embodies the vibrancy, diversity and dynamic energy that the sport of table tennis offers to the world.

The colours of the South African flag represents the host nation, while the watermark, the King Protea, is South Africa’s national flower. The logo creates a highly impactful, youthful and energetic experience that encourages users to engage with these historic championships which take place in Africa after an absence of 82 years.

The sport of table tennis encapsulates and promotes non-violent competitiveness. Visually it is one of the world’s most exciting and entertaining sports to watch. Table tennis is also one of the world’s most played sports, superseded only by football. Whether played by able-bodied or paraplegic players, young or old, rich or poor, table tennis is one of the true global sports.

The World Table Tennis Championships 2023 logo incorporates all the diverse attributes of the game, the host nation, and the inclusivity and representivity that is enjoyed by the sport of table tennis in Africa and the world.