Nigeria, Ghana, and eight other countries have been announced as Western Region qualifiers for the 2023 ITTF World Championships, which will be held in Lagos from May 19 to 21.
The ITTF World Championships will be held in Africa for the second time in 2023 after the city of Durban in South Africa was given hosting rights at the ITTF AGM in 2020.
The competition will include four events – team (men and women) and singles (men and women), with Nigeria’s Rilwan Akanbi facing familiar adversaries in top players from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Fatimo Bello of Nigeria, a two-time regional champion, will also be attempting to defend the crown she won in Abidjan and Lagos in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
According to Prof Germain Karou, Secretary-General of the Western Region, the large turnout of teams was due to the high quality of organization combined with the high quality of players expected at the three-day tournament hosted by the Lagos State Government and technical coordinated by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF).
“I am so excited with the large turnout of teams for the third edition of the regional championships because for any team to be part of the world championship, such team had to participate in the regional event and that is why most of the teams have decided to come to Lagos State, a good city which has become the hub of table tennis in Africa.
Apart from being a good host, Nigeria is known globally as a good organizer of a table tennis events in the world with the ever-supporting fans coupled with the quality of play, we cannot wait to start on May 19 and by 21, we will know the teams that will be qualifying from the region to the World Championships in 2023 in Durban, South Africa,” Karou said.
Teams from Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Togo, Niger Republic, and Senegal will compete alongside Nigeria and Ghana.
Egypt dominated the Northern Region qualifications, which were conducted in Algeria, while Mauritius dominated the Eastern Region qualifiers, which were held in Ethiopia.