Tennis

Quadri Aruna, Omar Assar lead African charge at ITTF Championships

Apart from being Africa’s known ambassador at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna has been celebrated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for his humanitarian gesture.

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Egyptian Omar Assar will lead African charge at the ITTF Championships serving off today in Houston, USA.

Africa represented by 17 players, will begin their campaigns in the singles events of the tournament.

The continental contingent led by its best players, Quadri Aruna and Omar Assar, will compete against the best in the world in all categories including the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and the mixed doubles following the draws ceremony held on Sunday.

In the men’s singles, Africa’s top ranked player, Quadri has been drawn against 152nd ranked Belarusian Aleksandr Khanin in the first round and having reached the 3rd round in 2019 where he lost to world No.1 Fan Zhendong in Hungary, the 13th seed will be hoping to break the 3rd round jinx at the championships.

Omar Assar has worked his way up in the world ranking to 29th this year after successfully reclaiming the African title at the 2021 African championships in Cameroon, however, the inform Egyptian has an arduous task in the first round against doubles specialist and 2018 Polish Open champion Lim Jonghoon.

World Table tennis championship debutant Ibrahima Diaw will play Sweden’s Jon Persson in the first round.

Nigeria’s Omotayo Olajide will play Gustavo Tsubio of Brazil in the first round, while

Bode Abiodun, another Nigerian is drawn against Indian’s Amalraj Anthony.

Egyptian duo of Ahmed Saleh and Khalid Assar has been drawn against Truls Moregard of Sweden and Adam Szudi of Hungary respectively. Algerian Sami KHEROUF will play French Can Akkuzu KKUZU in the first round.

Leading the charge in the women’s singles is 3-time African champion Dina Meshref.

The Egyptian is Africa’s biggest hope in the women’s draw. Dina will kick start her journey in Houston against Mateja Jeger of Croatia in first round before partnering Omar Assar for the mixed doubles. While women’s doubles partners – Yousra Helmy and Farah Abdel-Aziz have drawn Margaryta Pesotska and Ayhika Mukherjee of India respectively.

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