Table tennis powerhouses in Africa – Nigeria and Egypt have confirmed their participation in the first major International Table Tennis Federation [ITTF] World Tour for 2017, Hungarian Open serving off on Thursday January 19 to 22 in Budapest.
Nigeria will be presenting the largest number of players with the highest ranked player in the continent – Aruna Quadri leading four other Nigerians to the championship while African Champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar will be competing alongside his sibling – Khaled in the competition.
Besides Quadri, other Nigerian players in the tournament are Italy-based duo of Olajide Omotayo and Kazeem Makanjuola and Portugal-based pair of Bode Abiodun, and Ojo Onaolapo.
According to ITTF, the $70,000 prize money championship will be kick-started on Tuesday with preliminary matches in the singles and doubles while the likes of Omotayo, Abiodun, Makanjuola and Onaolapo will start their campaigns from the preliminary stage of the singles and doubles events of the competition.
Quadri will be partnering Omar Assar in the men’s doubles event, Omotayo will pair Onaolapo while Makanjuola will partner Abiodun in the doubles as well.
Over 54 countries across the globe are taking part in the four-day championship with 331 players made up of 220 men and 111women competing in five events – U-21 singles (boys and girls) and singles and doubles (men and women).
Other top playing nations expected to compete in the tournament are China, Germany, Chinese Taipei, England, Portugal, Russia and a host of others.
The tournament serves as a point hauling event for world ranking as well as one of the tournaments that serves as qualification for the end-of-year ITTF World Tour Grand finals.