Table tennis will kickstart the 13th African Games taking place in Accra, Ghana, from March 8 to 23, according to a statement by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) made known on Sunday.

Being one of the sports expected to showcase talents and skills, 29 countries will jostle for honours in seven events at the games.

All eyes will be on Africa’s highest-ranked player, Quadri Aruna of Nigeria, who is yet to add the African Games men’s singles title to his medal tray.

The statement by the ITTF also said the Accra International Conference Centre would host the table tennis event for seven days.

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The men’s singles will kick off the tournament with 84 men, while 62 women will battle for the coveted prize in the event.

According to the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), the 18 men’s teams will be drawn into six groups of three each, while the 12 women’s teams will be drawn into four groups.

The top teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage of the event.

It stated that in the last two editions of the games, Egypt had dominated all the events, claiming the majority of the gold medals ahead of the former continent’s heavyweight, Nigeria.

In the men’s singles, all eyes will be on men’s defending champion Olajide Omotayo, who has not replicated the form he displayed at Rabat 2019 in any continental event.

The Nigerian’s best outing in any tournament was finishing in third place at the 2023 African Championships.
Women’s singles defending champion Dina Meshref will also be aiming to retain her title.

She, however, needs to fend off her compatriot, Hana Goda, who has dominated the continent in the last four championships, claiming the African Cup and championships.

For the President of ATTF, Khaled El-Salhy, the turnout of teams for the games had been impressive, being the largest number in any African Games.

”We are excited with the presence of teams across the continent, and we hope this will again showcase talents and skills by some upcoming players, including youngster Matthew Kuti, who has been included in the Nigerian squad for the games,” he said. (NAN)

March 4, 2024

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