The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Nigeria as the host nation for the 2019 ITTF African Cup and Club Championships which comes up in August 2019.
Nigeria’s bid was given a nod due to her pedigree in hosting the championship, President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy stated on ITTFAfrica.com
The hosting right awarded to Nigeria means the ever bubbling Molade-Okoya Thomas Hall at the Teslim Balogun stadium will be re-ignited with the passion of the game during the summer.
According to the ITTFAfrica.com, “Nigeria applied for the bid of hosting such prestigious event on time and the EC found it is a very good chance to bring the event to Lagos just prior to the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open in order to give multiple benefit for the African players to play more than one tournament especially at same venue. Also it aims to encourage more African players to feature in the Nigeria Open this year,” he said.
He expressed optimism that more players would feature in the tournaments as most of them would be using as tune-up to the 2019 African Games in Morocco, which serves as Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers.
While reacting to the hosting right given to Nigeria by the International Table Tennis Federation, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation Ishaku Tikon said: “Nigeria is known to have staged one of the colourful table tennis tournaments in the world, hosting the continental tournaments would not be an issue”.
“We are ready to host the tournaments as ITTF and ATTF have both agreed to do the necessary things to ensure we stage befitting tournaments. We have the experience and the human resources to put up a good show and we hope to again put Africa on the world map with hosting of the championships,” Tikon said.
On the ability of Nigeria to stage the tournament, the ATTF boss said: “Nigeria is one of the very experienced African Federations hosting Continental & World title events, and I see that success is increasing year by year for their ITTF World Title event, thus this year with additional African events, they will have more success.”
It is expected that each national association shall register four players made up of two men and two female as the African Cup serves as qualifiers for the ITTF World Cups for men and women.
“Each Association will register two male and two female players including the title holders – Aruna Quadri of Nigeria and Dina Meshref of Egypt being the champions of previous edition in Agadir, Morocco in 2017,” El-Salhy added.
The African Club Championships serves off on July 31 to August 2 while the African Cup holds on August 3 to 5 with an average 15 countries and 70 players expected to compete in the tournaments in Lagos, Nigeria.