Africa’s top table tennis player, Aruna Quadri will be out of the 2023 World Table Tennis Contender Lagos, which will hold between June 12 and 18.
But, the organisers, have expressed the younger Nigerian players participating in the competition to succeed in the tournament.
In a post on the WTT Lagos Instagram account, Quadri announced that club engagements had prevented him from making the trip down to Lagos and drummed support for other Nigerian players in the competition.
The WTT Contender is coming on the heels of the just-concluded first ITTF World Championships in South Africa.
The tournament will allow players to garner ranking points in their quest to pick tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France.
The event director, Kweku Tandoh, said playing with top players in the competition would help the younger players improve their performances.
Tandoh said, “Quadri himself feels bad that he cannot be here because one of the players that beat him at the WTT in Durban, South Africa, will also be here, it would have been an opportunity for him to avenge the loss.
“We have the former world number one coming and about 13 Chinese players coming here too. The tournament is going to be top-quality.
“It is an opportunity, even if they (young players) don’t get through to the qualifiers. It is competitions like this that will help them build confidence, and know where they need to improve in terms of their performance.
“Don’t forget that players like Taiwo Mati (ranked 75) and Olajide Omotayo (ranked 144) started about 10 years ago with the Lagos International Classics, now they are world players because at that early stage, they were able to rub shoulders with top foreign players, and it helped them to build up their own game,”
The Vice President of the International Table Tennis Federation, Wahid Oshodi, at a press conference at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, said it was time for a new generation of players to grab the spotlight.