The much-anticipated 2016 ITTF World Junior Championships will begin on Wednesday November 30 in Cape Town with over 20 countries across the globe competing for honours at the eight-day tournament.
GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World – the largest entertainment destination of its kind in South Africa, will host the championships as teams begin hostilities in the first stage of team event for boys and girls.
Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and host – South Africa will fly Africa’s flag with all eyes on table tennis powerhouses – China and Japan.
Unfortunately for Africa, Nigeria and Egypt have drawn in Group Two of the boys’ team event while Nigeria was also drawn in same group with Algeria in the girls’ team event. Host – South Africa will battle Italy and Canada in the boys, while the girls will confront Spain and Canada.
Being the 14th edition of the championships which started in 2003, Africa will be looking up to Nigeria and Egypt to spring surprises against some of the world’s best in Cape Town.
At the dinner organised for the participating teams by the Organising Committee (OC), ITTF Executive Vice President, Patrick Gillmann lauded the OC must be commended for putting together the tournament with the fascinating venue. Ï must thank the OC and SATTB for their efforts to stage this championship particularly in such a wonderful venue and city of Cape Town. I am pleased to be part of this championship and I hope all players and teams will enjoy the tournament in Cape Town and South Africa,” he said.
From the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, teams and players were urged to avail themselves the opportunity of enjoying the beautiful city of Cape Town with its tourism potential.
SATTB boss, Joe Carrim described the competition as another avenue to promote table tennis in South Africa as well as to engender friendship among players from various countries. “To the players, we are delighted to have you in Cape Town and we recognised your potential and the quality you possess. We are so excited of the love you have for the sport and just like late Nelson Mandela used to say, “Sports change lives” we hope that you can change the outlook of the sports by affecting lives positively with your gift as your roles change lives,” he added.
He lauded ITTF for giving South Africa the opportunity to become a major player in international scene. “Hosting this competition is a stepping stone to becoming a major player in the sport and with this kind of environment that the competition is taking place, we believe we can profile table tennis to the whole world. I am also thanked the OC and our dedicated volunteers who have taken their valuable time to be part of this great success,” Carrim said.
The well-attended dinner was spiced up with melodious tune from young South African artist, Rees Adam who sang to the admiration of the teams.
The short dinner was also attended by the ITTF Deputy CEO, Glenn Tepper and Vice President, Administration, ITTF Africa, Olabanji Oladapo.