The 33rd World Table Tennis Championships opened in Calcutta, India on Wednesday (5 February) without Israel and South Africa.
The 33rd World Table Tennis Championships opened in Calcutta, India on Wednesday (5 February) without Israel and South Africa. The opening was controversial. As the participating teams paraded around the stadium, a coloured South African team was being turned back at the airport.
A spokesman for the West Bengal Government said the sending of the South African team was a shrewd move on the part of the Pretoria Government. The situation was embarrassing for India because the team members were of Indian origin.
The Indian Government had announced that for political reasons South African and Israeli players would not be given visas to compete in titles.
A team of Palestinians has been allowed to compete and the International Table Tennis Federation has now given them full membership.
The championships were officially opened by the Indian President, Mr. Fakhurrudin Ali Ahmed who made a short speech after the participating teams marched past. The opening ceremony took two hours.
The nations are vying for two trophies...the Swaythling Cup, held by Swede...and the Corbillion Cup held by South Korea.