Sports

February 16, 2024

2024 ITTF WTTC: African teams go down on opening day  

2024 ITTF WTTC: African teams go down on opening day  

African teams lost all their opening matches at the 2024 Busan International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships.

Algeria, South Africa, and Madagascar suffered defeats in the men’s and women’s events of the first World Championships taking place in Busan, South Korea.

A statement by ITTF showed that Algerian teams were beaten 3-0 by Chile and Austria.

The statement said the Algerian ladies’ trio of Amina Kessaci, Lynda Loghraibi, and Malissa Nasri were no match for their Chilean counterparts.

South Africa, who came in as a replacement for Tunisia, was also beaten by Iran 3-0 in their opening match. The Algerian men’s team, led by experienced Mehdi Bouloussa, also fell 3-0 to Austria.

The youthful team of Madagascar could not withstand the experience of the Czech Republic, as the team fell 1-2 to the European side in their opening group match.

With the withdrawal of Quadri Aruna and the late arrival of Bode Abiodun, Nigeria was walked over by Japan in their opening match of the competition.

This development also places Nigeria in a tight corner, as only two players will be available for the competition.

Egypt will begin their campaign against Romania on Saturday, while their female team will also take on the Czech Republic.

Rueing the absence of Aruna, Segun Toriola described it as a big setback for the team but expressed optimism that the team could still make it from the group.

“I am aware that the Japanese are afraid of Aruna, and their coaching crew has been worried about their formation. When the news filtered that Aruna would not be coming, they were a bit relieved.

“But we can’t give up even though it is a big blow to the team here in Korea, and we will not give up hoping that we can progress from the group,” he said.

Women’s defending champion, China, came back from 2-1 down to beat the Indian team led by Manika Batra 3-2 to kick-start their title defence in Korea.

40 men and 40 women teams have been drawn into eight groups of five teams each, with the top eight teams in the men’s and women’s events qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France.

The Nigerian men’s team have been drawn against Japan, Chinese Taipei, Madagascar, and the Czech Republic, while the Egyptian team led by Omar Assar will battle Portugal, Romania, Iran, and Thailand. (NAN)