The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Sao Tome & Principe and South Sudan as the 221st and 222nd members of the body.

An online portal, `Theinsidegames’ on Wednesday said the two African countries were accepted at ITTF Annual General Meeting held alongside the ongoing World Championships in Suzhou, China.

It said that Sao Tome & Principe had competed at the last five Summer Olympic Games, but managed to send athletes in the two sports, athletics and canoe sprints.

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The statement added that South Sudan was the world’s newest nation, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

It said that the announcement was a major boost to South Sudan’s target of being recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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It said that the decision by ITTF illustrated the success of the body’s development programme which was set up in 1999 and had helped the creation of 42 new national associations.

It quotes Thomas Weikert, ITTF president as saying that having additional members are good achievements for the body.

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“I am very proud that ITTF has achieved the number one status in terms of membership as one of our goals is to be among the top five sports overall. This is another milestone for table tennis.

“Our development programme provides equipment, training of coaches and players as well as helping to foster growth in a sustainable way,” it added.

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