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.”

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.

Chinese Table Tennis Players Dominate At Kuwait Open

Table TennisGrand Slam Champions of China, Zhang Jike and LI Xiaoxia, have come back to reclaim the Men’s and Women’’ Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour tagged ‘Kuwait Open’.

The tournament, which served off on March 16, witnessed Jike, who won the title back in 2013, but has been suffering several defeats on the international tour in 2015, looking determined to prove himself again.

The highly anticipated men’s singles final saw the reigning Olympic champion face-off with current world number one, MA Long, who has had a great year in 2015, claiming all three major titles available in 2015 which include: World Champion, Men’s World Cup Champion, and World Tour Grand Finals Champion.

Jike eventually prevailed 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9) to break MA’s dominance.

After his victory, the 28-year-old, whose last international singles title was at the 2014 Men’s World Cup, said: “Throughout the tournament, I was in form both physically and mentally, especially as the tournament progressed, things just went better. We know each other very well, so it’s normal that it was a close match. Even though I won 4-1, those 4 games were just by a 2-point margin”.

“I won because of my mindset. Ma Long is in top form lately, and has been winning many major titles in the past year, so I was ready to go all out to fight tonight. I think the most important aspect of competition is when both parties give their best to fight in the match, that’s most respectable”.

The Chinese also combined with his teammate, Xu Xin, to win the men’s doubles. The duo defeated Hong Kong’s HO Kwan Kit and TANG Peng 3-1 (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5) to strike gold in Kuwait.

In the women’s singles event, LI Xiaoxia became the first female player to successfully defend her title, after beating 2015 World Champion, DING Ning, 4-1 (11-6, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8).

“I haven’t been having systematic training for quite some time due to my injuries, so I have never thought that I could win. I think my mentality helped in my victory, because I came here without any expectations,” stated the surprised champion.

In an all-Chinese women’s doubles final, DING joined forces with world’s number one, LIU Shiwen, to overcome teammates LI and ZHU Yuling 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and avenge both their losses against the Grand Slam Champion in the singles event to take home the title.

The under-21 men and women’s titles were won by Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Japan’s Hina Hayata.

The 2016 ITTF World Tour Super Series continues in Qatar from March 23 – 27, 2016, with the world’s top table tennis stars competing in the city of Doha.

Quadri Moves To 48th In ITTF World Ranking

ITTFNigeria’s top player in table tennis, Aruna Quadri has started the year in number 48 in the world ranking.

In the ranking released by the world table tennis ruling body (ITTF), Quadri who ended 2015 in the 50th position, moved up two places.

His continental rival, Egypt’s Omar Assar also made progress and is now ranked 29th from the 31st position he finished in 2015.

Respected Nigerian player, Segun Toriola occupies 163rd position as no Nigerian female player made it to the top 200 while Egypt’s Dina Meshref maintained Africa’s best placing as 96th in the world.

Germany-based Olufunke Oshonaike is the top ranked Nigerian female player in the 207th position in the world.

Meanwhile, China’s Ma Long retains his no.1 spot on the Men’s World Ranking, while Japan’s Yuya Oshima climbed from no.24 to no.18. It is the 41st time that Ma Long has been listed in top spot in the monthly publication.

China dominated the women’s ranking; Liu Shiwen is number one, Ding Ning occupies the second position while Zhu Yuling is third.

Meanwhile, a Shanghai-based Sengled Optoelectronics Company Limited will on Wednesday January 6 at its annual exhibition in United States, honour Aruna Quadri.

According to the release by the company, the occasion which involves customers across America will have Quadri signing autographs, taking pictures and playing exhibition matches at the colourful three-day event.