BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Durban, South Africa will host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals according an announcement made at the ITTF's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday, the first ever virtually conducted AGM in the table tennis governing body's history.
Durban received 90 votes to beat the other candidate city of Dusseldorf, Germany, who received 39 votes. Dusseldorf had hosted the 2017 edition.
The prestigious table tennis event will head to the African continent for the first time since Cairo, Egypt in 1939.
The new format for the World Table Tennis Championships Finals will come into place in 2021, requiring participants to contend for berths through continental qualifications, thus making it more feasible for more countries and regions to host the event.
"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," said ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi.
"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," he added.
Yao Zhenxu, former Vice President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA), was appointed Personal Honorary Member of the ITTF for his long-time commitment to international table tennis.
Having played his part in "Ping Pong Diplomacy" between China and the United States, Yao took up the role of Chinese team leader between 1985 and 1995, followed by his position as the ITTF Technical Committee Chair from 1995 to 2009.
During his stint as the CTTA vice president between 1995 and 2014, Yao aided many athletes from other countries and regions to train in China, and helped to develop the sport in China and across the world.
ITTF's major reforms took place at Monday's AGM with the establishment of an ITTF Tribunal and an ITTF Integrity Unit, seen as an important step towards improving the organization's governance.
The ITTF has voted for holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) during the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea, which has been rescheduled to take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the AGM is planned to be held towards the end of 2021 to serve as an opportunity to review the progress of the year.