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.

NTTF Names Players For ITTF World Championships

The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation has named a strong seven-man team for the 2017 ITTF World Championships.

Africa’s highest ranked player, Aruna Quadri and seven-time Olympian, Segun Toriola will lead the men’s team.

Other players in the team are Olajide Omotayo and Ojo Onaolapo.

On the other hand, African champion, Olufunke Oshonaike, will spearhead the women’s team which includes Edem Offiong and Cecilia Akpan to the competition.

The biggest Table Tennis tournament in the world will take place in Dusseldorf, Germany from May 29 to June 5.

Aruna Quadri Maintains ITTF World Ranking Status

Aruna Quadri, commonwealthAgainst all odds, Aruna Quadri, has maintained his status in the November ITTF world ranking as the number 25th rated player in the world.

Many had expected the 2014 ITTF star player to slide in the ranking following his first round exit at the ITTF world cup in Germany as well as the men’s singles final match he lost to Egypt’s Omar Assar at the ITTF Africa senior championships in Morocco.

The Nigerian added four points to his world ranking to remain in top 25 in the globe.

Egypt 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 in Morocco.

Also, African women’s singles champion, Olufunke Oshonaike made the list of biggest movers in the world as the Germany-based star rose from 256 to 206, while seven-time Olympian, Segun Toriola moved from 109 to 101.

Toriola was recently honoured by the African Table Tennis Federation as the continent’s most decorated player.

The African table tennis body recognised 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.

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.”

We Are Pleased With Our Performance In Rio – NTTF

NTTFThe Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has expressed satisfaction over the performance of the team that represented the country at the Rio Olympics.

The scintillating performance of Aruna Quadri, who made it to the quarterfinal of the men’s singles event after beating two of the world’s top players to become the first African to play in the last eight of the Olympic Games is a major achievement.

A proud President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi believes the outing in Brazil has confirmed that with more support, table tennis is capable of claiming a medal for Nigeria at the multi-sports competition

After becoming the best team outside Asia and Europe to have performed well at the Olympic Games, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, reiterated how proud Team Nigeria has made the country.

Oshodi, whose administration has brought vibrancy and changed the fortune of table tennis in Nigeria, said despite the lack of support from those in charge of sports in Nigeria, the players raised their game to win the heart of many in Brazil.

“I am quite pleased with the players. They have shown commitment and have strive to give their best. Everybody won a match and got into the main draw of the tournament and at this level that is not an easy task. They have all come together and supported each other even when support seemed to be lacking.

“With Aruna Quadri’s excellent performance in reaching the quarterfinal and Segun Toriola getting to the 2nd round, I must confess that I am quite elated and proud of this team. They have done the country proud.

“This is by far the best performance by a table tennis team outside Asia and Europe ever and must be celebrated. If you also look at the quality of players that we defeated then one must take his hat off to the players. It is a phenomenal performance taking all the circumstances of our preparation into consideration”, he said.

On what the feat of Aruna Quadri would impact on the sport, the president said:

“This just goes to confirm what we know about our players. They have the talent and if you can combine that with hard work, commitment to your job, discipline and a lot of humility then you can get to the top of the world game.

“We have a lot of gifted players in Nigeria but what is lacking in many of them is the will power to put in the work. Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri, Bode Abiodun, Edem Offiong and Funke Oshonaike continue to show the way and I hope many others will follow.

“As I have been trumpeting for a while now, we have probably the best crop of young junior players outside China and Japan and if we can harness their talents properly then I make bold to say that in the next five years we can challenge the Chinese for the number one spot. But in main our problems like lack of funding, lack of seriousness and the right kind of exposure for our coaches and players still continue to hamper us.”

Expressing his personal feeling on Aruna Quadri’s performance, the ITTF Nomination Member said: “As you know I have always taking an extra interest in Aruna’s career due to his hard work and commitment to improving himself both on and off the table. I am the proudest person in Rio. Everybody who has followed his career will feel rightly proud.

“The NTTF is really proud of Aruna and his team mates. This performance gives us another platform to engage with the private sector and I truly hope that with all the accolades and acclaim he is receiving from home and abroad the private sector in Nigeria will see fit to support him as Frot Group, Friends of Table Tennis and Premier Lotto have done. Aruna goes on to the World Cup in October and of course the African Senior championships later in the year and he needs to sustain this performance.

“Playing alongside the best players in the world requires a lot of funding for training, travel and equipment. We hope our own home grown companies, philanthropists and wealthy individuals will come forward now and help this talented player get to the top of the game. Aruna and Toriola are probably some of the most famous faces in World Sport today and it is sad that we keep going on about lack of funding. I really hope this will change for the better”.

On his future plans, he added: “There is need for more exposure for our other players and coaches while more funding, increased and better quality coaching. We need to have at least eight male and female players consistently playing on the senior and junior professional tours.

“This will serve as an inspiration for the young ones coming behind especially when they see that they can build a financially rewarding career as people like Toriola and Oshonaike have done. I have learnt in my career that the only true reward for hard work leading to success is more hard work. We need to even work harder especially in the female category so we can sustain our achievements.

“I am fully committed to helping our players get to the top and really hope we can get the right support from Government and the organized private sector such as the Banks, Telecoms and Oil companies and our big Industrialists: this category of organizations need to focus a lot more on helping our home grown sports stars develop instead of chasing after the big earning premiership football stars. What they spend on just one of these sponsorships could easily cater for all of international and local table tennis for a year. The people who decide what these companies expend on corporate sponsorships need to sit back and have a rethink. We really hope they will get behind our players and only when they do this will they be really doing some good in society.”, he added

Gumel Hails Quadri As Shining Star Of Rio Olympics

Aruna Quadri, commonwealthPresident of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Mr Habu Gumel, has hailed the exploits of Table Tennis player, Aruna Quadri at the Rio Olympics, describing him as the shining star of the Games.

Quadri hugged the headlines when he became the first African Table Tennis player to ever play at the quarter finals of the Olympics before being knocked off the medal range by current number one player, China’s Ma Long.

An overwhelmed Gumel said that Nigeria, Africa and indeed the World were happy with the exploits of Quadri, who has sent out warnings to show that Nigeria was a powerhouse in Table Tennis.

“We’re extremely happy with the performance of Aruna Quadri.

He has lifted the name of Nigeria higher by becoming the first African to reach the quarter final of the Olympics.

“It is no mean achievement.

“We in Team Nigeria salute his gallantry and urge him not to lose focus as the sky no doubt will be his limit,” Gumel said.

The NOC President also congratulated the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Enitan Oshodi, for his exemplary leadership which had continuously brought good tidings to Team Nigeria.

“Let me also greet my friend, Oshodi for his vibrant leadership that has impacted on the Table Tennis players.

“Since Oshodi came on-board as President of Table Tennis Federation, Nigeria has recorded giant strides.

“We salute him and salute all other illustrious players who have given their all for Nigeria.

“I’ll not forget Segun Toriola whose vim and vitality has seen him play in seven Olympic Games. It is not a small achievement,” Gumel added.

Segun Toriola Relishes Seventh Olympic Games Appearance

Segun Toriola, Olympic GamesWhen the Rio 2016 Olympic Games kicks off on August 5, Segun Toriola will put his name in the annals of Olympic history as the first African to compete at seven Olympic Games.

When Segun Toriola made his debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games in Spain, he just wanted to fulfill his childhood dream of competing at the world’s biggest sporting event.

“I feel very great about my seventh Olympic Games because it is a record for me, Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.

“At the beginning of my career, I didn’t know that I’m going to play in seven Olympics but here I am heading to Rio and I am super excited for this feat,” he said.

Toriola, who is yet to get a national honour for his feat as the most successful table tennis player in Africa is focusing on doing well a Rio Olympic Games.

In his three decades’ career, Toriola has recorded some important achievements and this are;

* 4 African Table Tennis Singles Championships (1998, 2002, 2004, 2006) and 2 Doubles Championships (1994, 1992)

* A Commonwealth Singles Championship (2002) in Manchester (United Kingdom)

* A Commonwealth Doubles Championship and Singles Bronze Medal (2006) in Melbourne (Australia)

* 4 African Games Singles Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007),

* 4 Doubles Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007),

* 1 Mixed Doubles Gold Medal (1999, with Bose Kaffo; they also won silver in 2003)

* 3 Team Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003).

* Olympic Games: Featured in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and now 2016 in Brazil.

However, Toriola is optimistic of a good outing in Rio despite the lack of preparation, “‎The team is trying a lot to prepare ourselves because it is very important that we put up a good performance and make the country proud at the Olympics.

“We are preparing ourselves very well and hopefully we will have something to celebrate in Rio.”

On Aruna Quadri, he said: “Aruna Quadri is an experienced player considering what he has achieved as a player. I don’t think that he will be under unnecessary pressure because he is not going to be thinking about the pressure because it is only when an athlete thinks based on his status that the pressure will affect his performance.”

Table Tennis: Aruna Quadri Tops Commonwealth Ranking List

Aruna Quadri, CommonwealthAsides being the best player in Africa, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has become the first African player to top the ranking list of players in the Commonwealth.

According to the ranking list released by the Technical Committee of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), Quadri who has been playing second fiddle to players from Singapore became the highest rated player among players from the Commonwealth nations.

Among the 277 players listed in the ranking, Quadri garnered 2385 points to beat Singapore’s Gao Ning, which has 2384 to second place. England’s Pitchford Liam has 2277 points to occupy third spot on the ranking list.

Africa’s most decorated player, Segun Toriola is ranked 12th with 2014 points behind players from India, Canada and England. Also Bode Abiodun is ranked 22nd with 1822points.

Prior to the May ranking, Quadri has been playing second fiddle to Gao Ning and as it is Quadri remains the best player among the players from Commonwealth nations.

Quadri also showed his quality in the French league when he aided his team, Jura Morez to remain in the elite division of the prestigious French Table Tennis League.

In the women ranking, no Nigerian made the top 20 list as Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike were ranked 23rd and 26th respectively.

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.

ITTF Ranking: Quadri Attains 29th In World, 1st In Africa

Aruna Quadri - ITTFNigeria’s Aruna Quadri has moved to 29th place in the latest ITTF ranking and also retains his top place as the highest ranked player in Africa.

Despite being inactive in the ITTF World Tour last month, Quadri with 2,393 points moved by one step to occupy his current position.

His continental rival, Egypt’s Omar Assar, dropped from 36 to 37 in the world.

Fortune also smile on former African Champion and the first African athlete to be competing in seven Olympic Games, Segun Toriola, who improved his world rating from 117 to 109, while Portugal-based Bode Abiodun also gained more points to improve from 185 to 179.

In the women’s ranking, Egypt’s Dina Meshref remains the best rated player from the continent despite dropping from 98 to 97.

The highest ranked Nigerian female player in the ranking is Edem Offiong, who improved her ranking from 242 to 230 while Olufunke Oshonaike, who was ranked 235 in March, has been taken off the world ranking for her inactivity in the last six months.Olufunke Oshonaike

In the Olympic Team ranking, Nigeria remain dominance in the men division despite dropping from 25 to 26 and the West Africa giant are still ahead of Egypt who are ranked 32.

But the North African are far ahead of Nigeria in the women team rating after occupying 31 while Nigeria is placing 40.

To decide the team that would represent the continent in the team event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Nigeria and Egypt would have to wait for the May ranking to know their fate.

But, as it is, Nigeria has an edge over Egypt in the men to qualify while Egypt has an upper hand over Nigeria in the women division.

Meanwhile, China’s Ma Long retained his position at the head of the Men’s World Rankings despite finishing second behind compatriot, Zhan Jike at the Kuwait Open.

It is the 14th consecutive ranking that has seen the 27 year-old head the list, since regaining the coveted position in March 2015 at the expense of colleague, Xu Xin.

Overall, it was the 44th time that Ma Long has appeared in top spot, a position he first secured in January 2010.

In the women’s world ratings, Liu Shiwen, Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling once again retained their top three places.

Aruna Quadri Is Africa’s Best Table Tennis Player

QuadriNigeria’s top rated table tennis player, Aruna Quadri, is now Africa’s best and ranked 30th in the latest world rankings.

After months of dominance over Quadri, Egypt’s Omar Assar has been displaced by the 2014 ITTF Star Player who has been in fine form lately.

From the ranking released, Quadri returned to top 30 in the world from the 37th place he occupied in February while Egypt’s Assar dropped to 36 following the defeat he suffered against the Nigerian at the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Sudan.

At the just concluded ITTF World Team Championships in Malaysia, Quadri only lost a match to highly-rated India’s Sharath Achanta while Egypt’s Assar was defeated by lowly-rated players twice at the event. The defeat suffered by the Egyptian is largely responsible for his drop in the ranking.

With this progress, the Nigerian may be on his way to Rio Olympic Games in the men’s event as Segun Toriola also made a triumphant return to the ranking to become the third rated African player in the world.

Toriola, who doubled as player/coach at the ITTF World Team Championship in Malaysia played his heart out to be ranked 116 in the world ahead of Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin who dropped from 127 to 135.

Also, Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun continued his rise in the ranking as the Portugal-base star is rated 185 to be the sixth rated African player in the world.

According to Olympic team event qualification criteria, the ranking of the three players in each country will determine their eventual qualification for the Olympics.

As it is, Nigerian players are ranked higher than the Egyptians and this was also confirmed by the President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, who has said that it is the May ranking of the three top players in Nigeria and Egypt that will decide the eventual team that will qualify for the men’s team event of the Rio Olympic Games.

After the ranking was released, a delighted Quadri said that it is good motivation towards achieving more success in the sport.