The two powerhouses in Africa, Nigeria and Egypt played with ease in their group matches of table tennis event of the 12th African Games holding in Rabat, Morocco.
As the top seeds in the men and women events, Kenya and Madagascar were no match for the Nigerians while the Egyptian men also thumped Eritrea and Congo DRC to top group A and B. They are expected to get a bye to the quarterfinal stage.
Just like it happened in the men’s event, so it was in the women category, as the Nigerian ladies led by six-time Olympian Olufunke Oshonaike walloped Congo Brazzaville and Uganda 3-0 while Egypt also inflicted similar defeat on Morocco and Kenya to progress to the last eight of the competition.
But the order was tilted in Group D of the men’s event as unseeded Senegal upset number four seed, Algeria 3-2 to top the group, while Togo also beat Ghana by the same margin to emerge as the top team in Group E.
The battle for the sole continental slot in the men and women’s event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continues on Thursday, August 22, 2019, as teams compete for places in the quarterfinal, while the semifinal and final will hold on Friday, August 23 with winners qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, women’s singles defending champion, Dina Meshref of Egypt, says even though the field is a bit more competitive than in previous years, she still retain high hopes of leading her country to clinch the gold medal and the sole spot for the 2020 Olympics.
“I think it is a bit tougher because this is the Olympic Games qualification event. It was not like that in previous editions and that is what I think makes it more competitive. For us, I think we have a sixty per cent chance of winning and clinching the sole ticket to Tokyo. We have prepared very well and we are in good shape to face any team”, she added.