Hosting the Table Tennis Champs Shines the Light on Current and Rising Stars

Once again, gsport has been ensuring that we get front row seats at another major event in the country, this time the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships. Staying true to raising the profile of women’s sport and advancing the women’s game during “2023 Year of Women’s Sport.”

For this week’s IG Live, Lonwabo Nkohla was joined by gsport Content Lead, Celine Abrahams, who has been covering the event in Durban.

“It’s incredible to see the tournaments that we’ve covered so far. That is excluding the daily work we do in the newsroom so when you look at it it’s been such a busy time and its only May. It’s a busy and exciting time for us. We’ve made it a point as the gsport newsroom to follow and to cover as many women’s sport as much as it’s possible. It is important because it is “The Year of Women’s sport” and women’s sport keeps on rising and thriving, she said.”

This landmark occasion marked the first time in over 80 years that the event was held on African soil. Abrahams confirms that the event’s spirit undoubtedly shone through as soon as guests landed at King Shaka International Airport.

“When the tournament started on Saturday, that’s when I really felt the buzz, walking into the venue, it was so packed especially considering that Table Tennis is a minority sport, not much coverage to the sport. To see so many families come out for the first day. It was great to see so many young kids. Seeing them getting the first-hand experience at a global tournament. They can hear about it on TV, they can read about it on newspaper but to see them there live was incredible. It’s been incredible to see Table Tennis getting so much support.”

The significance of the ITTF World Championships Finals in Durban cannot be overstated, as this marks the first time the event will be held in Africa since 1939 when Egypt played host.

Abrahams says the local media has been amazing. “It’s been great to see the local media. The KZN Department of Sport has been making a call for the media to come out and support and show coverage for the event and they heeded that call. We had to come and also show our support.”

This event is not just about delivering a world-class competition, it is also part of ITTF’s continuous efforts to develop and spread the game all around the world.

“It was an eye opening experience because we were able to see and learn of and shine the spotlight on South Africa’s Table Tennis seen. We got to learn about the likes of Danisha Patel and Zodwa Maphanga.”

The event offered the Men’s and Women’s Singles, as well as the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles events.

According to Abrahams the coverage for both men and women’s side has been equally supported. “At the event the coverage and support has been amazing. No matter who’s playing. I laughed when South African supporters were chanting the name of a Chinese player. Definitely a lot of love for the women players.”

“For us to host the world, it has been an exciting time, for the continent and for us as well here in South Africa. I can’t wait to see where hosting will leave us as a country,” she added.

The World Championships at the Durban ICC and will conclude on Sunday, 28 May, when champions will be crowned across various categories.

Click here to watch the full IG Live on gsport4girls


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