Ray of hope for Kenya team at Africa Cup in hunt for table tennis Olympic ticket

Table Tennis
Table Tennis

Four Kenyan table tennis players are set to battle it out for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games tickets in Tunis.

A total of eight African players will make the cut to feature in the Tokyo Games after the three-day competition which will start this Saturday.

Kenya will field two men and two women, namely Brian Mutua, Josiah Wandera, Doreen Juma and Lydia Setey. The team is coached by Kennedy Otieno Kojal.

“We are not ruling out going to the Olympics. However, Kenya faces stiff challenge and is limited by lack of exposure and game time at top competitions,” Kenya captain Doreen Juma said on Friday.

“Our rivals ply their trade in Europe and Asia as professionals. Nevertheless, we will try to give it our all in the Qualifiers.”

The tournament, which started as Africa Top 16 Cup, will culminate with the finals serving as Olympic qualifiers.

President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) Khaled El-Salhy said from the 16 players who started the campaign in the women’s singles, eight have been shown the exit while the remaining eight will compete for the four slots available.

“These eight players have been drawn into two groups of four players each – with the top two picking the tickets to Tokyo 2020,” El-Salhy said.

Nigeria’s duo of Olufunke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem have been drawn into separate groups.

Edem will square up against Tunisia’s Garci Fadwa and Abir Haj Salah as well as Ethiopia’s Malta Gulti.

Oshonaike will slug it out against Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou, Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi and Mauritius’ Nandeshwaree Jalim.

In the men’s singles, Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo have inched closer to qualification after winning all their group matches in the first stage.

Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw and Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu also maintained their unbeaten run in the first stage.

Mixed doubles qualification tournament will be on Saturday as Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike battle Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref as well as six other pairs of players from Algeria, Tunisia, Congo DRC, Seychelles, Kenya and Djibouti. Enditem

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