Africa’s most celebrated table tennis star, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and the current African champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar have been listed among the 64 seeded players for the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships holding in Dusseldorf, Germany on May 29 to June 5.
Already, 64 top players in the world including Olympic and World Champion, China’s Ma Long have been exempted from competing in the preliminary round of the championships while they are expected to begin their campaigns in the main draw (first round) of the tournament.
Quadri who has also been listed among the world title contenders by the world table tennis ruling body – International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is seeded number 31 in the men’s singles while his continental rival – Assar is rated 50 among the 64 top seeds.
Also, African doubles champions – Quadri and Segun Toriola will battle with the world’s best in Germany.
Meanwhile, 613 athletes from 108 countries will be making the trip to Dusseldorf, Germany for the biggest table tennis event of the year.
For the first time in history, players from Afghanistan, Oman, Palestine and Tahiti will be amongst the countries fighting to be crowned World Champion in the event taking place at the Messe Dusseldorf.
ITTF President, Thomas Weikert stated: “I am very excited about welcoming 613 players from 108 countries to my home country of Germany for the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships. We are all a part of the ITTF family and this Championships will be a celebration of that and a celebration of table tennis. It is going to be a fantastic event, and I look forward to watching as many countries and players as possible playing here in Germany.”
The most captivating entries were from the Japanese women’s team whose average age is just 19, and they are without team icon Ai Fukuhara, who has been a consistent member of the Japanese team since 2003. Japan will now be spearheaded by their oldest member of the team, 24-year-old Kasumi Ishikawa, and 17-year-old sensation Miu Hirano who shocked the world to become Asian Champion last month, and is now one of the favorites for the world title.
China has again chosen a team of superstars to defend their titles they won two years ago in Suzhou, China. The Chinese men’s team boasts the world’s top four male players, and the women’s, the top two players in the world, so they will be hot favorites to continue their World Championships gold rush.
There are five titles up for grabs in Germany: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Qualification for the singles main draw of 128 will start on May 29, with the main draw starting May 31. The Women’s champion will be crowned on June 4 and the Men’s on June 5.