Nigeria suffers early elimination at ITTF World Team Championships

Nigeria suffers early elimination at ITTF World Team Championships

Hassan Abdulsalam 16:09 - 20.02.2024

The 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships has been a mix of triumphs and trials for African teams, with Egypt's women's team shining as a notable exception.

Nigeria, a powerhouse in African table tennis, encountered a significant hurdle with the withdrawal of star player Quadri Aruna due to food poisoning. 

This setback impacted the team's performance, leading to an early exit alongside Algeria, South Africa, and Madagascar. Each of these teams struggled to make their mark against formidable opponents, concluding their journey in the first round.

The Nigerian teams, both men and women, faced disappointment as they were unable to progress beyond the first round. The men's team, affected by Aruna's absence, and the women's team, faced strong competition from teams like Germany, Mexico, Slovakia, and Poland, resulting in defeats that led to their early departure from the championship.

The Egyptian women's team showcased remarkable skill at the 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships in South Korea, securing their spot in the second round. After competing fiercely in a group that included teams from Romania, Iran, Portugal, and Thailand, they emerged second, thanks to their strategic play and determination. Their success was highlighted by a key victory over Thailand, showcasing the team's resilience and skill.

The Egyptian men's team faced its own set of challenges, starting the competition with a series of defeats. However, they managed to turn their fortunes around with a crucial 3-1 victory over Thailand. This win allowed them to finish fourth in their group, demonstrating a commendable fightback despite the initial setbacks.

Amid the mixed outcomes for African teams, Dina Meshref and the Egyptian women's team provided a beacon of hope. Excelling in Group 8, they defeated teams from the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Croatia. Despite a loss to France, their overall performance was strong enough to secure advancement to the second round, underscoring the talent and potential within African table tennis.

Former African Games champion Edem Offiong reflected on the challenges faced by African teams at the championships. Citing lack of preparation as a key factor, Offiong emphasized the importance of such international competitions in preparing teams for future events, including the upcoming African Games in Ghana. This perspective highlights the need for better preparation and support for African teams to excel on the global stage.