• Table tennis is a huge sport all around the globe. We want to be one of the biggest sports worldwide.
• Prior to Durban, the 2021 table tennis worlds took place in Houston, the United States.
Chief Executive Officer of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Group Steve Dainton, said the World Championships' long-awaited return to the African continent is one of the efforts to make table tennis global.
"It's super important," Dainton said on Saturday as the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) Finals kicked off in Durban, South Africa.
The championships marked the first time that the prestigious event was held in Africa since 1939.
"Table tennis is a huge sport all around the globe. We want to be one of the biggest sports worldwide, so it's really important that we take our biggest event, the World Table Tennis Championships, to all parts of the world," commented Dainton.
"To have an event here in Africa, in South Africa, in Durban, and the first time back in this continent after 84 years, is really amazing for us," he added.
Prior to Durban, the 2021 table tennis worlds took place in Houston, the United States. With two successive editions of the event being held outside of Asia and Europe, the move reflects table tennis going global.
"In table tennis, we made a lot of changes in the last few years, with World Table Tennis (WTT) starting Grand Smashes. We see the chance to take our World Table Tennis Championships to really different parts of the world," said Dainton.
"That [the Houston worlds in 2021] was the first time since the Cairo event in 1939 that we were outside of Asia and Europe, so it was a super important milestone. We also made some reforms to our World Championships to allow us to be able to move around," the ITTF official added.
"We hope in 2027 we can go maybe to Latin America or Oceania because it's really important to become a global sport."