Thursday, April 18, 2024

Table Tennis: Nigeria, Egypt, Others Shift Focus To 13th African Games

After a not-too-impressive outing at the just concluded ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships (WTTTC), African table tennis heavyweights – Nigeria and Egypt as well as other continental contenders have now shifted focus to the forthcoming African Games taking place in Ghana.

For the 13th African Games, table tennis is one of the sports that will kick-start the games before the official opening on March 8 as the likes of Omar Assar of Egypt and Quadri Aruna of Nigeria are expected to begin their hunt for medals in the singles event. Seven titles will be at stake in Ghana in the table tennis event as Egypt who claimed most of the medals at the 2019 edition in Morocco will be hoping to dominate again in Ghana.

According to the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), the event will commence with singles, followed by team and doubles events as most of the continent’s top players will be heading to the WTT Singapore Smash from March 8 to 17.

A source said that this becomes necessary to allow the players to garner points for their eventual qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France.

Meanwhile, WTT have confirmed Aruna and Egypt’s quartet of Assar, Ahmed Saleh, Dina Meshref and Hana Goda among the top players that will start their campaigns from the main draws on March 10.

Players that will kickstart their campaigns from the qualifying round include Egypt’s duo of Mariam Alhodaby and Yousra Helmy; Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou, Nigeria’s Fatimo Bello and Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi in the women’s singles.

In the men’s singles, Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali, Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw, Algeria’s Mehdi Bouloussa and Nigeria’s duo of Taiwo Mati and Olajide Omotayo will also begin their quest for glory from the qualifying round of the $1.5m prize money tournament.

The OCBC Arena Singapore will host Singapore Smash 2024 as the Lion City is set to host a star-studded ensemble of the world’s finest paddlers at Singapore Sports Hub, promising an exhilarating experience for fans locally and around the world.

For 2024, the spotlight will be on 2023 champions China’s Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha, both on a mission to defend their respective Men’s and Women’s Singles titles. Fan, boasting an impeccable singles record at the event, is aiming for a Singapore Smash three-peat.

His quest faces stiff competition from World No.2 Wang Chuqin, the reigning WTT Finals Men’s champion, and the legendary Ma Long, determined to secure his first Singapore Smash title after consecutive runner-up finishes.

The qualifying round takes place over March 7 to 9, leading into the main draw starting on Sunday, March 10.

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