Nigeria has won the rights to host the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Cup and Club Championships this August.
The country’s largest city of Lagos will welcome Africa’s top players for the continental tournaments which serve as a dress rehearsal for the 2019 African Games in Morocco later this year.
Khaled El-Salhy, president of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), said in a statement that Nigeria’s hosting experience had prompted the ATTF Executive Council (EC) to give the West African nation the nod to stage the tournaments.
“The EC found it convenient to bring the event to Lagos just prior to the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, in order to benefit African players who can play in more than one tournament at the same venue,” he said.
“It also aims to encourage more African players to feature in the Nigeria Open this year,” he added.
El-Salhy expressed optimism that more players would feature in the tournaments, as most of them would be using them to warm up for the 2019 African Games in Morocco, which serves as the qualifying tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Each national association is expected to register two male and two female players, as the African Cup serves as the qualifier for the ITTF World Cups for men and women.
“Each association will register two male and two female players, including title holders Aruna Quadri of Nigeria and Dina Meshref of Egypt, who were champions of the previous tournament in Agadir, Morocco in 2017,” El-Salhy added.
The African Club Championships runs from July 31 to August 2, while the African Cup is held from August 3 to 5, with 70 players from 15 countries expected to compete.