African Table Tennis Federation Honours Segun Toriola

Segun Toriola, Olympic Games, Table TennisThe African Table Tennis Federation has honoured the continent’s most decorated player Segun Toriola at the ITTF Africa senior championships in Morocco.

The African table tennis body is recognising Toriola for putting table tennis on the world map as the first athlete in any sport in Africa to attend seven Olympic games.

The ITTF President, Khaled El-Salhy believes Toriola has what it takes to break his own record by making it to Tokyo 2020.

Mr El-Salhy also commended the player for being an inspiration to young players in Africa with his 100% commitment to the sport on and off the court.

Meanwhile, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Nigeria’s men’s team have qualified for the 2018 world team championships holding in Sweden.

Egypt and Nigeria qualified based on their performance at the 2016 World Team Championships held in Malaysia in which they finished among the top 36 countries in the world.

Togo also secured its place after finishing second in the fourth division at the World Team Championship in Malaysia.

Others are Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal.

Table Tennis: Egypt Reclaims Men’s Team Dominance

Table Tennis, ITTFEgypt has reclaimed the men’s table tennis team title it lost to Nigeria at the 2015 African Games after beating the West African giant 3-2 in the final of the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championship holding in Morocco.

The victory recorded by the Egyptian women team against Tunisia was not as sweet as the win the men’s team had over Aruna Quadri-inspired Nigerian side.

The encounter had the quality expected of it and the players gave the fans something to cheer throughout the match with Aruna Quadri showing his worth against the Omar Assar-led Egyptian side.

The trio of Segun Toriola, Bode Abiodun and Rio Olympic Games quarterfinalist, Aruna Quadri matched their Egyptian counterparts strength-for-strength and it was the same Mohamed El-Beiali that lost the final game at the 2015 African Games to give Nigeria a 3-2 win in Congo Brazzaville that saved the day for the North Africans as he won came from 2-0 down to beat veteran Segun Toriola 3-2 to give throw the Egyptian fans into ecstasy in the 3-2 win.

An excited Ahmed Saleh said: “We knew from the start of the match that Segun Toriola is a dangerous player and we planned that we could take the lead 2-1 and hoping that Omar Assar will defeat Aruna Quadri in the fourth game.

“Unfortunately Omar Assar lost and we were confident that Mohamed El-Beiali will deliver and I am so happy that he did it for us.

“This victory is sweet because that was our main mission in Morocco to reclaim our men’s team title which we lost to Nigeria at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville.

“I am so happy that I am part of this team and I will cherish this victory for a long time.”

Table Tennis: Nigeria Qualifies For Rio Olympics Team Event

Table TennisNigeria has secured a place among the 16 men’s teams that will compete in the table tennis event of Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

This development was confirmed based on the May ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Friday.

Nigeria’s men was ranked higher than Egypt to pick Africa’s sole slot for the event.

According to ranking, Nigeria dropped to 27 spot in the world but was ahead of Egypt who was ranked 32.

No Support for Nigerian Table Tennis Players – Oshonaike

OshonaikeNigeria’s experienced female table tennis player, Olufunke Oshonaike, has decried the lack of support the sport is suffering in the country.

Despite achieving recognizable success in the last three years, Oshonaike said that she cannot understand why the National Sports Commission is not willing to assist the federation to consolidate on their efforts.

The Germany-based player told Channels Sports that the negligence from the Sports commission is discouraging.

“I couldn’t make it to the ITTF Africa Top 16 in Sudan because of funding. No one has called me to find out why I did not participate and that’s because they don’t care. I had to pay for my trip to Yaounde for last year’s edition and till today, I’ve not received any refund. It’s just discouraging,” she lamented.

Oshonaike, who has qualified for the Olympics in Rio by reaching the semi-final phase at the African Games in Congo said that it is difficult for players to always pay for trips to represent Nigeria at international competitions.

She added that at the moment she did not know the plans of the Commission as regards the Olympics.

“Let’s not even talk about the Olympic Games yet, that one is in August. Let us talk about the World team Championships in Malaysia that comes up next month. What are the plans for team Nigeria? We don’t even know the players that will feature, no one has been contacted as regards preparations or even travel itinerary.

“For a competition as important as the world championship, that’s not the sort of approach we should give it.”

Oshonaike also spoke about Aruna Quadri’s victory in Sudan, the pride he brings to Nigeria and her wishes for Quadri to get corporate sponsorship that will help him take his game to the next level.

“I’m so excited about Quadri’s victory over Omar Assar. I have been celebrating and posting comments on social media. Quadri is a fighter and hard-worker who will go places in the future but without good support, it will be hard.

“He keeps winning for Nigeria and no one has recognized him and that’s not encouraging. He won the trophy in Sudan and it was announced Aruna Quadri of Nigeria, so that means his country must also be there for him. I want to wish him all the best in his career.”

Segun Toriola and Edem Offiong will begin their quest towards securing tickets to the Olympics on Tuesday in Khartoum, Sudan.

Toriola, who has featured at the Games six times, will make history if he can make a seventh appearance at the tournament.

 

 

US, Poland, Austria To Compete At Abuja International Badminton Event

badmintonNine countries have confirmed participation for this year’s Abuja International Badminton Championship scheduled to serve off on September 30, at the Gymnasium Hall of the National Stadium.

Top on the list include the USA, Poland and Austria. Other countries that will also feature at the International Championship are Turkey, Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Mauritius.

Host country, Nigeria, will compete with her very best players in the event which promises to bring together over 100 internationally ranked badminton players into the country.

The championship is coming barely two weeks after the conclusion of the African Games in Congo, where Nigeria won six medals in Badminton.

Leading Nigerian players who at various times were best players on the continent including Jinkam Ifraimu, Ola Fagbemi and Maria Braimah will file out to compete alongside younger, but vastly improved players like Grace Gabriel, Tosin Atolegbe and other rising stars.

International stars expected to feature at the four-day event are Kate Fookune, the Mauritian who won the female gold in the African Games in Brazaville and the male gold medalist, Edwin Ekiring from Uganda.

President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN), Justice Danlami Senchi, said that the tournament has been sanctioned by the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA) and the World Badminton Federation (WBF).

“This is an international championship and our aim is to attract the best players of Badminton to Nigeria, so we are doing everything to make sure the championship is successful” he stated.

“The game of Badminton holds a lot of promise in our country. We contributed immensely to the medals haul at the just concluded All African Games (AAG) and our intention is to keep improving the game as we move along” Justice Senchi explained.

Secretary of the Federation, Mrs Miriam Akande, confirmed that all arrangements have been put in place to make the tournament successful.

“As you know, security of the players is uppermost in our minds so we have made elaborate arrangements on the issue of security.

“We have also prepared adequately for the welfare of players and officials,” the Secretary stated.

Mrs Akande also gave the assurance that crucial items like playing mats, shuttles and other equipment have been provided to meet international standards while the technical crew was working round the clock to ensure quality officiating among others.

The Federation wants corporate bodies and sports lovers to support the game of badminton, particularly the Abuja International Championship so good followership can be achieved.

Oshonaike, Quadri Qualify For Rio 2016 Olympics

OlympicsNigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Oshonaike have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after making it to the semifinal stage of the singles event of the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville.

For Oshonaike, it’s a dream come true as she has equaled Segun Toriola’s record of six appearance at the games after making her debut at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in United States.

To book her place, Oshonaike defeated Egypt’s Yousra Helmy 4-2 to set up a semifinal clash against another Egyptian Nadeen El-Dawlatly on Saturday September 19.

With this qualification, Quadri who defeated Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh 4-1 in the quarterfinal will be making his second appearance at the games after his excellent debut in 2012 when he made it to the second round.

For the semi-final tie, Quadri will battle against Egypt’s Khalid Assar who edged out Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo in the quarter-finals.

Other players who have sealed qualification are Egypt’s Assar brothers, Omar and Khalid as well as Chinese-born Wang Jianan who defeated Segun Toriola 4-1 in the quarter-finals.

The other three players that secured Olympics slots alongside Oshonaike are Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly as well as Chinese-born Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing.

Quadri Moves To 43 In ITTF World Ranking

Aruna QuadriNigeria’s Aruna Quadri has moved from 56 to 43 in the September world rankings released on Wednesday by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).

Quadri’s return to the top was made possible following his scintillating performance at the last Czech Open where he defeated top seeded players from Japan and Germany.

In the ranking, Quadri is among the most active players, having garnered 54 points from his performance to rise to 43.

When Quadri was at 56th place in August, he had 2204 points, but moves to 43rd with 2262 points. He trails Egypt’s Omar Assar,  who dropped from 30 to 36, following his second round exit at the Czech Open last week.

Meanwhile, Quadri is hoping for a better outting in his second appearance at the African Games in Congo Brazzaville.

“I am hoping for the best at the African Games because this is going to be second games for me and I will be very happy if I can do so much better than what I did in 2011.

“Also most important for me is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil,” he said.

He however expressed optimism on Nigeria’s overall chance in table tennis, adding that with the newly-appointed German coach, the needed technical input would be available for the team.

“I think nothing is impossible for Team Nigeria in Brazzaville because we have been preparing in the last two months and I seriously believe that this preparation is enough to conquer Africa.

“In short, we have bright chance of winning more medals than any team and I am sure Nigeria will surprise everyone in all events as we are capable of emerging as overall champion,” Quadri added.

He admitted that it would not be an easy challenge for Nigeria as teams like Egypt, Congo Brazzaville and Algeria are equally good.

“It is going to be very difficult for all teams because the standard is really improving in Africa and for this reason I am expecting a tougher challenge from all participants.

“I think it is going to be very difficult for Egypt to dominate as Nigeria is fully ready for the big war in Brazzaville”.

The 11th edition of the African Games will begin on Thursday, September 4 2015 and team Nigeria will be hoping to impress in table tennis.