Table Tennis: Nigeria Tops Africa Olympic Qualification Tournament

Three nations qualified athletes to the Olympics after the 2016 African Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament. The men’s and women’s tournament had two stages; a group stage and an elimination stage. The top two athletes from each event qualify to the Olympics. The African Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Khartoum, Sudan from February 16th to February 18th 2016.

The largest upset in the women’s group stage was Safa Saidani of Tunisia’s 3-1 win over Islem Laid of Algeria. While both athletes advanced to the knock-out round Saidani’s win gave her the top spot of the group and an easier path for Olympic qualification. Laid’s loss would come to haunt her as she was defeated in the quarter-finals by Nigeria’s Offiong Edem. Edem booked her spot to the Olympics by defeating Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi 4-0. Safa Saidani would cause one more upset in order to qualify to the Olympics as she used all seven sets to defeat Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou 4-3. Edem won the tournament 4-0 over Saidani.

The men’s group stage went mostly as expected as the top four athletes finished atop of their respective groups with little to no trouble. The top four seeds would all reach the semi-finals though Togo’s Mawussi Agbetoglo required all seven sets to win 4-3 over Madagascar’s Jonathan Nativel. Segun Toriola of Nigeria set an African record of most Olympic appearances after he defeated Agbetoglo 4-0 to qualify to the Olympics. The second Olympic spot went to Congo’s Suraju Saka whom defeated Tunisia’s Adem Hmam in a seven set thriller. Toriola won the tournament 4-1 over Saka.

This was the final opportunity for African players to qualify to the Olympics. By qualifying their second players Nigeria’s men and women and Congo’s men along with previously qualified Egypt’s men and women will be the only nations eligible to qualify in the team events. The highest ranked team in the world rankings from Africa will get the spot to compete.

 

Quotas by Nations

  • Nigeria – 2
  • Congo – 1
  • Tunisia – 1

 

References

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