Last Chance Saloon For Toriola, Oshonaike Bid For Olympics History

The African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) has released the list of players that will compete in the singles and mixed doubles Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification event scheduled for 27-29 February in Tunisia.

The tournament is the final opportunity for African players to be part of the Olympic Games in Japan.

Eight players made up of four men and four women in singles including one mixed doubles pair will qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tunisia.

Egypt as African champions in the men and women’s team event has picked Africa’s sole slot for the team event in Tokyo while two men and two women from the Egyptian team will feature in the singles event at the Olympics

Nigeria’s duo of Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike will be eyeing history with Toriola aiming to be the first African athlete to record eighth appearances at the Olympics and Oshonaike targeting the record for African female players with a record seventh outing.

Each national association is expected to present two players each in the singles event in men and women’s categories in addition to a team in the mixed doubles event

Topping the field in the men’s singles is Africa’s number one ranked player, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and compatriot Olajide Omotayo.

Others listed for the men’s singles event include Gedeon Kassa and Diawaku Diamuangana (Congo DRC), Habeb Alajaebi and Salh Abodib (Libya), Ibrahima Diaw and Hamidou Sow (Senegal).

Derek Abrefa and Emmanuel Commey (Ghana), Ahmed Djamal (Djibouti), Kizito Oba Oba and Kanate Ali (Cote d’Ivoire), Dodji Kokou Fanny and Mawussi Agbetoglo (Togo), Saheed Idowu and Christ Bienatiki (Congo Brazzaville) are also listed.

While Adam Hmam and Kerem Ben Yahia (Tunisia), Sami Kherouf and Larbi Bouriah (Algeria), Brian Mutua and Josiah Wandera (Kenya), Godfrey Sultan (Seychelles), Monday Olabiyi (Benin Republic), Jonathan Nativel and Stephen Ravonison (Madagascar) complete the field.

The women have Flavia Kimbu and Cyntia Nzangani (Congo DRC), Sarah Hanffou (Cameroun), Offiong Edem and Olufunke Oshonaike (Nigeria), Rahma Houssein (Djibouti), Nandeshwaree Jalim (Mauritius), Marta Gulti (Ethiopia), Abir Salah Haj and Fadwa Garci (Tunisia), Lynda Loghraibi and Katia Kessaci (Algeria), Doreen Juma and Lydia Setey (Kenya) and Christy Bristol (Seychelles).

African champions Omar Assar and Dina Meshref of Egypt top the list in the mixed doubles event.

Others are Gedeon Kassa and Cyntia Nzangani (Congo DRC), Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike (Nigeria), Ahmed Djamal and Rahma Houssein (Djibouti), Fadwa Garci and Mamia Thameur (Tunisia), Sami Kherouf and Lynda Loghraibi (Algeria) Godfrey Sultan and Christy Bristol (Seychelles).

According to the prospectus, the singles event (men and women) shall be played in a round-robin system with the players expected to be drawn into groups of four based on the decision of the jury.

Winners and runners-up of all groups in the first round will be drawn in the second stage to play another set of round-robin ties to decide the top four positions that will qualify for the Olympic Games.

The mixed doubles event shall be played in a simple knockout from the start to the final and the winning pair will directly qualified for Tokyo 2020 as Africa’s representative in Japan.

The allotment of the players in groups will also be based on the latest African ranking list for February 2020 in singles and mixed doubles.

All matches in every stage for all events shall be best of seven games.