ITTF Commends Nigeria Open




Impressed by the world-class organisation of the event and the huge followership the annual ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open commands globally, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has described the tournament as a model for others.

At the press briefing to herald the tournament in Lagos, Executive Vice President, ITTF, Dr Alaa Meshref, said upgrading the tournament to Challenge Plus was done as a result of its global acceptance by players.

READ ALSO: FIFA Team Inspect Ogbe Stadium, Others For U-20 Women’s World Cup

“We are happy to have a tournament with the fans coming to watch and this has improved with more players eager to come to Nigeria,” the ITTF chief said

He commended the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and the Lagos State Government for their commitment to table tennis, while hoping that the tournament would continue to set example for others.

Meshref said: “We are excited with what is happening in Nigeria when it comes to table tennis and we are thrilled by the commitment of those involved in the organisation of this championship. We believe that in no distant time, the tournament will rival others in Europe and Asia in terms of prize money. We must commend the NTTF and Lagos State Government for what they are doing to the sport. ITTF will continue to support this tournament. It is a model for others in the world.”

For the president of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Engr. Ishaku Tikon, the tournament has continued to set new records with over 32 nations competing this year. “We are grateful to our sponsors and we want to thank the sports-loving governor of Lagos State for his commitment to the tournament. I welcome every player to Nigeria this year,” the NTTF chief said.

Omotayo Hopes To Sustain Momentum From Mauritius



After making the semifinal stage of the men’s singles at the last ITTF African Championships in Mauritius as an unseeded player, Olajide Omotayo believes he is yet to fulfil his potential.

On his way to the last four, Omotayo humbled tournament’s number three seed – Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali 4-1 but the former national junior champion admitted that he would not be carried away by the feat but continue to work hard to measure up with the standard set by Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola at a global level.

“I am satisfied with my performance in Mauritius because it has erased the poor outing at the ITTF Nigeria Open. This will also help me to push myself more and work harder now because eyes will now be on me across the world.

“However, I will remain grateful to the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for believing and giving me the opportunity despite my early exit at Nigeria Open,” he said.

Omotayo who now trains in Germany admitted that playing against Aruna Quadri in the semifinal has also boosted his confidence going into any tournament.

“Apart from the crucial wins I had in Mauritius, I think I have learnt that believing in yourself means a lot because this helped me a lot when I played against the Egyptians and for the first time I had the opportunity to face Aruna Quadri and this will surely help me a lot in boosting my confidence,” he added.

Being his second appearance at the senior African championships, Omotayo said the feat has really motivated him to aim higher in his career.

“Being my second time participating in the African Championship and getting to the semifinal is really a big motivation. I will use this result to push myself, work harder and continue to believe in myself,” said Omotayo.

The African championships semifinalist will be competing at the 2018 Belgium Open later in the year is, however, hoping for sponsors that will help him to attend more competitions.

He stated further: “My next competition is the Belgium Open and now I have the privilege to practice in Germany with a Bundesliga team and I strongly believe this will help me a lot as they have top ranked players in the team. I am sure with the help of the coach and players; I will improve in as much as I continue to work hard.”

“For now I’m not getting any support from any corporate body but I am only getting assistance from the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi and may God continue to bless and enrich him more. In the last two years, kits support from Gewo and Mr. Oshodi, I have been able to add some money too from my pocket to attend some tournaments this year but I must admit it has not easy but God has been good to me.”

For 2018, Omotayo is dreaming big as his target is to improve more so as to win more matches.

Aruna Quadri Emerges Africa’s Best, Ranks 21 Globally

Nigerian table tennis player, Aruna Quadri has set new record as he is ranked best African ITTF Player.  

The 29-year-old ranked 21 in the latest ITTF ranking released on Thursday by the world table tennis ruling body.

Quadri surpassed his best of 25th in the ranking to displace Egypt’s Omar Assar as Africa’s best ranked player in the world.

Following her victories over top ranked players at the Swedish Open, Quadri amassed 50 points to improve from 2,457 to 2,507 points.

Aruna Quadri Rises To 27 In ITTF ranking


Aruna Quadri has moved from 36 to 27 in the November ITTF ranking released on Wednesday by the world table tennis ruling body.

As the first African to win an ITTF title outside the continent after claiming the men’s singles at the Polish Open, Aruna Quadri gained more points from his Poland victory as well as claimed some points from his qualification to the main draw at the ITTF World Cup in Liege, Belgium.

With 2,434 points in October to be ranked 36, the 2017 Polish Open Champion who is supported by Premier Lotto gained 23 points from his performance in October to be rated 27 in November with 2457 points.

Despite drop in his ranking points from 2,528 to 2,513, Egypt’s Omar Assarl holds on to the zenith in Africa as the Egyptian moved a step up from 21 to 20.

China’s Ma Long remains the number one player in the world despite losing to Germany’s Timo Boll in the semifinal of the ITTF World Cup while winner of the 2017 ITTF World Cup, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov achieved the biggest ranking in his career after moving a step up to third spot in the latest ranking.

World Cup runner’s up, Germany’s Timo Boll moved to fourth place in the ranking while France’s Simon Gauzy continued his steady rise in the rating as the Frenchman moved from 13 to eighth place in the ranking to halt the dominance of Asians in the ranking. Among the top 10 players ranked in the world, Europe has three players while Asia has seven.

In the women’s ranking, for the first time in her career that China’s Zhu Yuling has headed the list, she replaces compatriot – Ding Ning, the reigning Olympic and World champion whose name no long appears owing to a recent absence from the international scene.

The effect is that there is a climb of one place for China’s duo of Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen. Chen Meng is now at no.2 followed by Liu Shiwen. Similarly it is one position higher for the next three names in the order of merit. Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa is now at no.4 followed by Japanese compatriots – Miu Hirano and Mima Ito.

Efforts of Egypt’s Dina Meshref at the 2017 ITTF Women’s World were rewarded, as the African champion moved from no.103 to no.92.

ITTF World Cup: Mizutani Is Better Than Me, Quadri Admits

Aruna Quadri

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has admitted that Olympic bronze medalist Jun Mizutani is better than him after he crashed out of the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Cup in Liege, Belgium.

Mizutani beat Aruna 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 on Sunday in the Round of 16 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Quadri, however, said, “I fought from the beginning to the end but it was not meant to be; Jun Mizutani is stronger than me.”

He noted that he was unable to make it past the group stage in 2016, but his qualification this year was a result of the improvement in his games.

He added that Egypt’s Omar Assar also represented Africa well at the competition, though he was eliminated by number one seed and World Champion Ma Long of China.

“I think we (Assar and I) did great, it’s not a child’s play to have qualified out of that group when you are playing against best 20 players in the world,” Aruna said.

“We were doing great from the beginning, both of us qualified from the group. So, it’s something interesting; it means African table tennis is improving a lot now.”

Aruna Quadri Wins Polish Open

Aruna Quadri

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has defied all odds to emerge as men’s singles champion on Sunday at the ITTF challenge tagged Polish Open.

Quadri defeated giant killing Japan’s Kaii Yoshida 4-2 to become the first African to win ITTF title outside the continent.

The final match against the Japanese lived up to expectation as both players tested each other strength-for-strength and skills-for-skills but it was the Nigerian that had the last laugh.

ITTF Nigeria Open: Quadri, Omar Seeded Sixth In Men’s Doubles

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has unveiled seeding list for the doubles events at the Nigeria Open. 

In the Men’s Doubles seeding list, India’s duo of Gnanasekaran Sathiyan and Shetty Sanil are number one, while France’s Antoine Hachard and Gregoire Jean are number two in the list.

The only Nigerian in the Men’s Doubles seeding is Aruna Quadri who will partner Egypt’s Omar Assar and they are seeded number six.

In the Women’s Doubles seeding, Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike will partner women’s singles defending champion, Portugal’s Jieni Shao and they are seeded number three.

Meanwhile, two Nigerian made the seeding list in the U-21 Singles rating for the championship as Azeez Solanke is seeded number two in the men’s U-21 Singles.

Italy’s Carlo Rossi has been seeded number one.

Nigeria’s Esther Oribamise is seeded number three in the Women’s U-21 Singles behind Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin and Egypt’s Amira Yousry who are seeded number one and two.

ITTF Names Quadri, Shao Top Seeds For Nigeria Open

Aruna Quadri

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Portugal’s Jieni Shao are top seeds in the men and women singles of the 2017 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017.

In the seeding list released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Quadri who is ranked 29 in the world tops the men’s list while his continental rival, Egypt’s Omar Assar, who is 38th in the world ranking, is seeded number two.

Just as Portugal’s Jieni Shao tops the seeding list in the women’s singles, experienced player Olufunke Oshonaike is the only Nigerian that made the seeding list in the women’s singles event of the competition.

2009 mixed doubles world champion, Qatar’s Li Ping, is number three seed in the men’s singles while defending champion, Finland’s Benedek Olah, is fourth on the seeding list.

Frenchman Antoine Hachard is fifth while India’s talisman and 2016 Belgium Open champion Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is sixth on the seeding list.

The second Egyptian on the seeding list is former African champion Ahmed Saleh who will be making his debut at the Nigeria Open. He is seeded seventh while India’s southpaw Sanil Shetty is eighth.

Other top players that made the seeding cut are Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay (ninth); Romania’s duo of Rares Sipos and Alexandru Cazacu are 10th and 11th seed respectively.

2014 Nigeria Open U-21 champion and quarterfinalist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo, is 12th on the seeding list while Nigeria-born Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu is 13th.

Italy’s teenage sensation Alessandro Baciocchi is 14th, India’s Sarthak Gandhi is 15th while Nigeria’s Kazeem Makanjuola complete the 16th ranked list.

For the eight seeded female players listed, defending champion, Portugal’s Shao is number one while last year’s runner-up, Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, is second on the list.

African women champion, Egypt’s Dina Meshref, is third; Russia’s Olga Kulikova is fourth; Hungary’s Bernadett Balint is fifth, while six-time Olympian, Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike is sixth on the seeding list.

Ukraine’s Ganna Farladanska and India’s Krittwika Roy are seventh and eighth seeds respectively.

Aruna Quadri Wins ITTF Africa Cup

For the first time in recent times, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has surmounted his continental rival, Egypt’s Omar Assar in the final of the 2017 ITTF Africa Cup to qualify for the ITTF World Cup in France.

Having conquered Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali 4-0 in the semi-final, Quadri showed his class to beat Omar Assar 4-3 in the Men’s singles final to the admiration of the fans at the venue.

Throughout the encounter, Quadri who played without any coach was calm throughout the encounter even when Assar was leading, he never gave up but continued to fight.

In the Women’s singles final, Olufunke Oshonaike surrendered to Egypt’s Dina Meshref in the final as the Nigerian lost 4-0.

Read Also: Nigeria, Egypt Seeded for ITTF World Championships Doubles Event

Nigeria, Egypt Seeded for ITTF World Championships Doubles Event

ITTFAfrica’s super powers – Nigeria and Egypt – confirmed their superiority on the continent as the two nations have been included in the seeding list of the doubles event of the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation World Championships taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany.

In the seeding list released by the table tennis ruling body, events like 2015 World Championships, 2016 ITTF – European Championships, 2016 ITTF – Oceania Championships, 2017 ITTF – Asian Championships, 2016 ITTF – African Championships and 2016 ITTF – Latin American Championships count for the doubles seeding for 2017 World Championships.

In the 32 pairs seeded in the men’s doubles, Nigeria’s duo of Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo are the Africa’s highest ranked men’s doubles, occupying 22 while Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Saleh are seeded 26th.

In the women’s doubles seeding, Africa champion – Egypt’s Yousra Helmy and Dina Meshref are rated 19 while Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike and Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou are 32nd in the seeding list.

Unlike in the men and women doubles which have players from Nigeria and Egypt, in the mixed doubles, three African teams were seeded.

African mixed doubles champion – Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref are seeded 12 while Nigeria’s Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike are rated 18 with Egypt’s duo of Mohamed El-Beali and Yousra Helmy are 22 with the Algeria’s duo of Sami Kherouf and Lynda Loghraibi rated 32 in the seeding list.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima are named as the top seeds in the Men’s Doubles event at the 2017 World Championships which commence on Monday May 29 in Dusseldorf.

In the Women’s Doubles event, the pairing at the top of the list is that of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota; for the Mixed Doubles it is Korea’s Lee Sangsu and Yang Haeun.

However, whether the top seeds prevail or not, new pairings will be crowned; no pair in any of the three disciplines has ever been crowned World champion, most unusually, no pair is defending the title won two years ago in Suzhou.

At the 2015 World Championships, China’s Xu Xin partnered colleague Zhang JIke to Men’s Doubles gold, after having earlier clinched the Mixed Doubles title in harness with Korea’s Yang Haeun. In the Women’s Doubles event, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling reserved the top step of the podium.

Now in 2017, the name of Zhang Jike does not appear on the Men’s Doubles entry list, nor does that of Xu Xin on the Mixed Doubles line-up. In the Men’s Doubles event Xu Xin partners Fan Zhendong; in the Mixed Doubles Yang Haeun is in harness with Lee Sangsu.

Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin occupy the no.3 seeded position behind the combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth; Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu reserve the no.4 seed spot.

In the Mixed Doubles, next in line to Lee Sangsu and Yang Haeun is the Hong Kong pairing of Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem. Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm are listed in the no.3 spot pursued by a second Hong Kong partnership of Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching.

In the Women’s Doubles the names of both Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling appear but with different Chinese partners. Liu Shiwen joins forces with Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling partners Chen Meng.

Cheng Meng and Zhu Yuling are the no.3 seeds, one place behind Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching; Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen are the no.4 seeds.

Accepted there are players on duty who have won doubles titles at World Championships but they are not with the partner with whom they gained success.

ITTF Confirms Nigeria, Others For 2018 Youth Olympics

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), has confirmed the qualification of Nigeria, Egypt and Tunisia for the Youth Olympic Games holding in Argentina.

The Youth Olympic Games will hold in Buenos Aires Argentina from October 6 to 12, 2018.

According to the ITTF, Egypt’s duo of Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Marwa Alhodaby, Nigeria’s Tosin Oribamise and Tunisia’s Nathael Hamdoun, will represent Africa in the table tennis event at the games.

The ITTF also called on national associations to make sure they give their players adequate preparation in order for Africa to put up a good performance.

ITTF Lists Nigeria, Egypt For Youth Olympics Qualifiers

ITTF Lists Nigeria, Egypt For Youth Olympics QualifiersThe International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed that 11 countries will contend for four slots available for Africa in the 2018 Youth Olympics holding in Argentina.

The countries listed are Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya.

Others include: Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DR and Madagascar.

The qualifiers for the Olympic Games is expected to take place at the El-Menzah Stadium in Tunis, Tunisia.

Egypt’s duo of Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Marwa Alhodaby are top seeds while Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke and Esther Oribamise trail the Egyptians.