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Melbourne, Düsseldorf and Durban bid for ITTF World Championships, vindicating event revamp

Melbourne, Düsseldorf and Durban have submitted final bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals.

The ITTF will be pleased to have attracted bids from three different continents having recently developed a new qualification process to include more national associations and increase the global footprint of the tournament.

The new process, designed with the Deloitte consultancy, guarantees quota places for players and teams from each continent. From 2021 onwards, 128 players in singles and 64 pairs in each of the doubles will be competing in a straight knockout to eventually be crowned world champions.

Melbourne and Durban are bidding to host the tournament for the first time while Düsseldorf last hosted the tournament in 2017. A statement from the ITTF indicated Kuwait had expressed an interest in staging the championships but did not submit a final bid before the 30 November deadline. The country had only just had a four-year suspension lifted by the International Olympic Committee.

ITTF officials will conduct an evaluation of the three cities between now and the end of February 2020. The candidates will then be invited to present their bids at the ITTF AGM before a vote is held to decide the winner.

The annual championships was held in Budapest this year and will travel to Busan (Korea Republic) in 2020, Houston (United States) in 2021 and Chengdu (China) in 2022.

Steve Dainton, ITTF chief executive said: “The race to stage the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals is really exciting, as we have two candidates, Australia and South Africa, who are vying to host the event for the very first time, while Düsseldorf put on one of the most memorable events in our sport’s history in the 2017 edition.”