Nigeria to take part in African Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tunisia
Nigeria will be competing in the singles and mixed doubles tickets at the African Olympic Qualifying Tournament holding between February 27 and 29 in Tunis, Tunisia.
The country had failed to secure qualification for the team event of table tennis in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the just-ended World Team Qualifying Tournament in Gondomar, Portugal. Nigeria lost to Poland in the second round of contest.
Qualification event in Tunisia is the final qualifying window for African teams and players to compete at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Fifty-four members of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) are expected to assemble in Tunis for the championship after Egypt secured the sole continental ticket.
According to the guideline for the tournament in Tunisia, two players each in men and women from each African Association will contest in the singles while one pair from each country, including Egypt will compete for Africa’s sole slot in the mixed doubles event.
The top four (semifinalists) players in singles (men and women) will qualify for Tokyo 2020, while the winner in the mixed doubles event will pick the African sole slot for Tokyo 2020. Each country cannot qualify more than two players in singles (men and women).
Meanwhile, speaking on the ouster of Team Nigeria from the team event for the Olympics in Portugal, President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, stated that effort of the players are commendable.
“I must commend the players for their commitment particularly with their display against the Polish team in Portugal. Having come back from 2-0 down to level up the match at 2-2 showed that we are not push over and we gave a good account of ourselves against the world best,” he said, adding that all hope is not lost yet as the African qualifiers in Tunisia present another chance for Nigeria.
“But that is not the end of the journey for us as we have another opportunity at the African qualifiers in Tunisia next month. I am personally confident that we can make it to Tokyo from there.
“I am also using this opportunity to commend the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports particularly the Minister, Sunday Dare for his support since assumption of office and I want to assure him that we will not disappoint in Tunisia as we are hoping for more of their support in our qualification journey to Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Meanwhile, in attempt to give teams across the world the chance to be part of the table tennis event in Tokyo, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will be organising the final qualifying championship tagged World Singles Qualification Tournament holding in Doha, Qatar on May 28 to 31.