Africa’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.