Derek Abrefa wins Westchester Table Tennis Opens(U2500 ratings)

Derek Abrefa shines in the US

Derek Abrefa - Six Time Table Tennis SWAG Award winner

Ghana’s six time Table Tennis SWAG award winner shines in Westchester, United States of America, where he is currently on a training tour.

Derek Abrefa won the January Westchester Open in the U2500 rating. The U2500 Table Tennis rating is the second highest rating category in the United States. Players from within the states and around the world participate in this category. 

At the group round robin stage were three players. Derek Abrefa, Chang Chen and Ainish Dassarma. This was a group of established players and only two players would move on to the quarter final stage. 

Derek was first in the group after keenly contested matches. He won 3:0 against Chang Chen and 3:0 against Ainish Dassarma.

At the quarter final stage he played Charlie Wang whom he dispatched in four matches 7:11, 11:6, 11:9, 11:9. At this stage players, officials and spectators took note of him. His unique and powerful playing style captivated spectators. 

The U2500 Westchester rating tournament got to its crucial stages in the semi final, where Derek played Jayden Zhou, in a match which ended three games to one in Dereks favour – 3 : 11, 11 : 7, 12:10, 11:7.

News of the Ghanaian Table Tennis star and his performance had spread at this stage of the tournament which made the final match a much anticipated encounter.

Ange Cedric Oba, an Ivorian number one professional player was the opponent in the final. An experienced player who is ranked 673 in the world showed signs of his current form by winning the first two games. However Derek rediscovered his rhythm and fought his way back in the third game to win at 12 : 10. The game ended in three games to two in favour of Derek Abrefa of Ghana – 4 : 11, 9 : 11, 12 : 10, 14 : 12.

Ghana’s highest ranked player with 278 ITTF points won the 2500 Westchester open at his first time of asking. 

Derek Abrefa - January U2020 Westchester 2500 rating winner

In an interview he expressed the following “I thank God for this great victory. I also want to use this opportunity to thank Stanbic Bank Moneywallet for this training tour. It wasn’t easy for me because of the level of players in the tournament and I am happy I finally made my way through to win the ultimate prize. This training tour has sharpen my skills and will help me in all future tournaments and enable me win laurels for my Ghana. I also thank the Ghana table tennis Association for their support from the beginning of this journey. The Ghana immigration service especially the head of sports Mr. Samuel Ayer for his guidance before and during this tour, My coach Ebenezer Anang-Whyte and to all my fans out there who supported me both physically and spiritual, I say God richly bless them all.

He however lost at the quarter final stage to Kai Zhang in the singles open tournament. We at Gh Table Tennis wish to congratulate Derek Abrefa, 6 times Sports Writers Association of Ghana(SWAG) Table Tennis SWAG Award winner for making the nation proud. 

Nigeria shifts attention to Tunisia for Tokyo qualification

African teams to battle for singles, mixed doubles slots

Bode Abiodum - Photo by Lord Kinful

When its maiden attempt at qualifying for table tennis team event of the Olympic Games failed to materialise in Portugal, Team Nigeria have shifted attention to the African Olympic Qualifying Tournament holding next month in Tunis, Tunisia.

Being the final qualifying window for African teams and players to compete at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 54 members of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) excluding Egypt will converge in Tunis on February 27 to 29 for the qualifying tournament in singles and mixed doubles events.

After losing the sole continental slot to Egypt at the 2019 African Games, Nigeria for the first time competed at the World Team Qualifying Tournament in Gondomar, Portugal, but the team narrowly lost to Poland in the second round of the tournament to miss out leaving Egypt as the only African team competing in the team event of Tokyo 2020.

According to the prospectus of the tournament in Tunisia, two players each in men and women from each African Association apart from Egypt, are expected to compete in the singles while one pair from each country including Egypt will compete for the continent’s sole slot in mixed doubles event.

The top four (semifinalists) players in singles (men and women) will qualify for Tokyo 2020, while the winner in the mixed doubles event will pick the African sole slot for Tokyo 2020. Each country cannot qualify more than two players in singles (men and women).

For the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, the performance of the players in Portugal should be commended being the first time Nigeria would be making attempt at qualifying from the world event. He however, expressed confidence that Nigeria still has the chance to pick the tickets in singles and mixed doubles event in Tunisia.

Tikon said: “I must commend the players for their commitment particularly with their display against the Polish team in Portugal. Having come back from 2-0 down to level up the match at 2-2 showed that we are not push over and we gave a good account of ourselves against the world best. But that is not the end of the journey for us as we have another opportunity at the African qualifiers in Tunisia next month. I am personally confident that we can make it to Tokyo from there.

“I am also using this opportunity to commend the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports particularly the Minister, Sunday Dare for his support since assumption of office and I want to assure him that we will not disappoint in Tunisia as we are hoping for more of their support in our qualification journey to Tokyo 2020,” the NTTF boss said.

Also in an effort to give teams across the globe the chance to be part of the table tennis event in Tokyo, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) will be organising the final qualifying championship tagged World Singles Qualification Tournament holding in Doha, Qatar on May 28 to 31.

SOURCE : Media ATTF 

Nigeria battles others for Tokyo slots in Portugal

Nigeria battles others for Tokyo slots in Portugal
Aruna Quadri - Photo by Lord Kinful

Nigeria as the only African country will be making another attempt at qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as the West African nation battles 33 others in the men and 29 teams in the women at the 2020 World Team Olympic Qualifying tournament holding in Gondomar, Portugal on January 22 to 26

From the men and women events, 18 teams made up of nine men and nine women are expected to pick their slots to Tokyo 2020 from the Portugal showdown.

According to the playing format, the matches will be in knockouts stages with the first stage made up of a knockout of 64. The eight teams, which make it to the quarterfinals will qualify to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. while the quarterfinals, semifinals and final matches will not be played.

The 9th and final qualification place for both Men’s & Women’s Teams will be determined via a 2nd knockout stage between teams losing in the round of 16 of the first stage. The matches are best of five individual matches consisting of a doubles and four singles.

also the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed the five-man contingent of Nigeria’s men team made up of Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo, Segun Toriola, Bode Abiodun and junior sensation, Taiwo Mati.

The women will be represented by Edem Offiong, Olufunke Oshonaike, Fatimo Bello, Ajoke Ojomu and Cecilia Akpan.

The tournament would give Nigeria another avenue to qualify for Tokyo 2020 after missing the continental sole slot to Egypt at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.

The Multiusos de Gondomar, in Portugal will host the tournament with 9 teams (men and women) qualifying to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and subsequently be entitled to confirm two athletes to take part in the singles events.

SOURCE : Media ATTF

Breaking News: Aruna Quadri begins 2020 as 18th world best

Aruna Quadri begins 2020 as 18th world best

Aruna Quadri - Photo by Lord Kinful

Having ended 2019 as 20th ranked player in the world, Aruna Quadri has started the New Year as the 18th world best player following the release of the January 2020 ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation  (ITTF).

In the rating, Quadri moved up by two steps to remain the undisputed Africa best ranked player being his best ranking in his career.

Also in the Olympic ranking released alongside the world rating on Thursday January 2, 2020, Quadri maintains his status as 18th best as well.

An excited Quadri said the ranking means more hardwork in the New Year.

“As long as I am happy I am starting this year with this ranking;  this also means I need to continue to work harder because remaining on top is more work. So having achieved quarterfinal feat in Rio, I think medal is possible in Tokyo. But I am hoping to qualify soon as the qualifiers is more competitive this year. But in all this would not have been possible without the singular support from Baba Ijebu Bet, a company that kept faith with me and I have been able to attend more tournaments with the hope that I will continue to improve,” he said.

For the Chairman, Baba Ijebu Bet, Sir Kesington Adebutu, the company is excited about the feat achieved by Aruna Quadri on the global stage, having attained his highest ranking under the support of the company.

“We are happy and want to congratulate him as our sports ambassador; we hope he will continue to act as a role model for the youth as we remain steadfast in our support towards his Olympic medal dream in Tokyo”,  Adebutu said.

Omar Assar of Egypt dropped to 29 from 28 while the success story of Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw continues. He has again moved from a previous best of no.82 to no.76. This makes it the second month running, that he sets the highest world ranking ever achieved by a player from Senegal.

Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo also slide to 86 from 85 in the world rating.

China’s Fan Zhendong reclaims the summit, as Japan’s Mima Ito moves up to world no.3.

SOURCE : Media Attf

Valuejet PTT Open may be listed on ITTF calendar in 2020

Valuejet PTT Open may be listed on ITTF calendar in 2020
Valuejet PTT Open

There are strong indications that the just concluded Valuejet Para Table Tennis (PTT) Open may be listed on the ITTF event calendar in 2020.

Impressed with the organisation coupled with the standard of play at the maiden edition of the tournament held at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The ITTF Nomination Committee Chairman and President, ITTF Africa, (Western Region), Wahid Oshodi disclosed there are efforts to convince the world table tennis ruling body to ensure that Nigeria joins the list of countries hosting a major PTT tournament across the globe.

Oshodi, who is the LOC Chairman of Africa’s elite table tennis tournament – Nigeria Open, believes that with the support of Valuejet coupled with the experienced personnel in the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), the tournament may be considered for next year.

Like Oshodi, the President of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, who was in Lagos for the three-day tournament said the continent body is convinced that Nigeria has the wherewithal to stage a befitting international tournament having witnessed what happened last week in Lagos.

“The Valuejet PTT Open will open doors for Para Athletes in Nigeria and in Africa to have a special event with top professional organization, media coverage and good prize money similar to other world events.

“ATTF had already opened the link with ITTF to get this tournament listed on the ITTF Calendar for 2020 after checking that all professional standard has been met. We are convinced that Nigeria has big experience in sports and specially table tennis as well. I believe it is this that attract sponsors to their events. I will like to use this opportunity to thank the management Valuejet on behalf of ATTF Executive Committee for their efforts to support NTTF and our table tennis family in Africa through the sponsoring of the tournament,” the ATTF boss said.

The Egyptian was however impressed with the turnout of teams across Africa which he said would motivate top class players to attend the tournament in near future.

“With what I saw in Lagos that top PTT African players with the large turnout of Nigerian players and high standard of play, I am sure it will start attracting many top players worldwide as soon as it is listed on ITTF calendar, hopefully next yeear,” El-Salhy added.

Team Nigeria sweeps medals

Source : ATTF 

Agunbiade, Alabi dazzle at maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open

Team Nigeria sweeps medals

Team Nigeria - Tajudeen Agunbiade

Tokyo 2020 bound Paralympians and Sydney 2000 gold medalists- Tajudeen Agunbiade and Olufemi Alabi were the star players for Team Nigeria in the final of the men’s class 9 & 10 at the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open which ended at the weekend in Lagos.

The three-day tournament attracted players from host – Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire with 44 titles at stake at the N10.8m prize money tournament.

In the final of the men’s final, it was Agunbiade partnership with Olufemi Alabi that ensured that Nigeria claimed most of the titles at the expense of Algeria and South Africa, with Theo Cogil of South Africa and Karim Bounedouha of Algeria.

But it was Agunbiade and Alabi’s excellent display that paved way for Nigeria to win the encounter at 2-0.

The tie described as the most colorful match of the competition witnessed beautiful strokes and shots from the players with Agunbiade accuracy and conciseness on table giving Nigeria at edge.

The doubles tie ended 7-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-7 in favor of the duo of Agunbiade and Alabi.

In the singles tie involving Agunbiade and Bounedouha, the display by the players received applause from the fans but it was the Nigerian that laughed last with 11-8, 16-18, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 (3-2) to give Nigeria a 2-0 win.

In the singles class 9 and 10, Agunbiade and Alabi claimed the titles to add to their medals at the tournament.

An excited Agunbiade described the victory as energy-sapping. “It was very tough match but me and my teammates are very happy to win the team event. I just want to use this opportunity to thank the sponsor, Valuejet for giving us this platform and urge other corporate organizations to support Para Table Tennis and expose us to more international tournaments to enable us to get to meet new players,” the 2000 Sydney Paralympic gold medalist said.

For the chairman of Valuejet, Kunle Soname, the tournament has come to stay. “The table tennis tournament will be bigger than this next year. You can see a lot players around and this has been a huge success for the fact that this is the first time an event like this is holding in Nigeria and I got a whisper from the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) that the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has written to make this an annual event in their calendar. For me, nothing can be more exciting than this,” Soname added.

The tournament was put together by Sunday Odebode Foundation in collaboration with NTTF while it was bankrolled by Valuejet Airline.

Team Nigeria sweeps medals

Source : ATTF 

Lagos comes alive for maiden Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Lagos comes alive for maiden Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Faith Obazuaye - Silver medalist Common Wealth

The much-anticipated Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open serves off on Thursday December 19 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos with hundreds of players aiming to share from the N10.8m purse.

Already, apart from Nigeria, eight African countries are in Lagos for the three-day tournament which ends on Saturday December 21.

Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana will compete in the 44 events tournament for players in class 1 to 10. The hundreds of players will compete in singles, team and doubles events.

For Rio Paralympian, Ahmed Koleosho, the tournament would provide the players the platform to compete against their foreign counterparts, particularly the local players who are yet to compete at higher level of the game. “I am so excited that we are hosting this kind of competition and I am hoping and believing that we will make Nigeria proud. It will surely give upcoming players the opportunity to compete against their experienced counterparts,” the Tokyo 2020-bound paralympian said.

For the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, staging the tournament would help players that had already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to tune up for the sports fiesta in Japan come next year.

“This is a good development for table tennis in Nigeria and we are grateful to our sponsor – Valuejet for deeming it fit to support the championship. We are excited and we can wait for the tournament to kick off as our aim is to make it a ranking event by 2020 on the ITTF calendar. This is another first from NTTF and we hope our players and visitors will enjoy the warmth of Lagos and Nigeria during the competition,” the NTTF boss said.

According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the aim of the tournament was to expose the players to world class tournament particularly as they are expected to compete against some of the best players in Africa.

“We want to use this competition to develop para table tennis in Nigeria while also promoting the talents of the players. We believe this tournament will enhance the sport as well as give us leverage to stage and be listed among the ITTF tournament in near future. Our players will also be exposed to competition among themselves and other players coming to Nigeria for the championship,” Odebode said.

Before the kick off of the tournament on Thursday December 19, from December 16 to 18, an ITTF classifier, Elsayed Mehrem has been in Lagos to classify some of the Nigerian players to their various classes

Ahmed Koleosho - Rio 2016 Paralympian

Source : ATTF 

Players talk tough for 1st Valuejet Para Table tennis Open

Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Nigerian players aiming to be part of the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open believe they will not be pushovers against the visitors.

Already, eight countries including host – Nigeria have been confirmed for the three-day tournament holding Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

From Nosiru Sule, Atlanta 96 Paralympic bronze medalist, the tournament is a good opportunity for upcoming players to showcase their talents.

“I am so excited that we are hosting this kind of championship for the first time in Nigeria. There is no doubt that the presence of teams from Egypt and South Africa will make the tournament competitive and I am sure Nigerian players will not want to play second fiddle to the visitors. Having featured in three Paralympic Games, this is good development for Nigeria that our players will have the opportunity to test might with their foreign counterparts in Africa,” Sule said.

Like Sule, Faith Obazuaye, a silver medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this is another platform for her to display her talents particularly against the visiting teams. “When I won the class 10 in Egypt earlier this year, many people are still doubting my ability and now that we are hosting an international tournament, I hope I can show them what I am capable of doing. It promises to be exciting in Lagos and I am eagerly looking forward to make the podium,” the class 10 African champion said.

For Tajudeen Agunbiade, who had already secured his passage to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan, the tournament would give opportunity to shake off their rustiness after the qualifiers in Egypt earlier this year. “We have not been able to compete internationally since the qualifiers in Egypt, I think having this kind of competition will surely help us to assess ourselves and shake off for Tokyo 2020. Some of the players coming from Egypt have also qualifiers for the games and this is a good way to test our might against them,” Agunbiade said.

Apart from Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa, other teams coming to Lagos include Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.

From Monday December 16 to 18, the ITTF classifier will classify the players to their classes while the tournament will kick off on December 19 to 21 with the top three in each event getting prize money for their efforts. 44 titles will be competed in class 1 to 10 in singles and team events for men and women.

Source : ATTF 

ITTF hails Nigeria over Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

ITTF hails Nigeria over Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open
Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

ITTF hails Nigeria over Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

for muting the initiative to stage the maiden maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has hailed Nigeria while hoping that other African countries would take a cue from this.

According to ITTF Classifier, El-Sayed Mehrem, the idea of hosting the international tournament is commendable as few countries in Africa has been able to stage a successful tournament.

“I am impressed with what I have seen so far in Nigeria particularly the hospitality of the people. I believe Nigeria has the potential to rule the world in para table tennis considering its rising profile in Africa. I must congratulate Nigeria and the organisers for making this a reality because I have been impressed with the organisation so far and i hope this tournament has come to stay. we hope and believe it can make it to the calendar of ITTF in years to come,” the Egyptian expert said.

For the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), the tournament is another efforts by the board to make the federation an all encompass for all athletes.

The President of NTTF, Ishaku Tikon who was represented by the Head of Para Section of the federation, Elderson Bankole, the idea of the tournament was to ensure that the para players tune up before the Tokyo 2020 as four of them had already qualified for the games in Japan.

“We want to ensure that our athletes shape up for Tokyo 2020 and particularly the classification of the athletes which would help to throw up new players. we also thank our sponsors for identifying with the federation and supporting the tournament. we hope they will remain with us and others will join them in future,” the NTTF boss said.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Olabanji Oladapo, the para table tennis players have been pride to Nigeria in several tournaments and with the tournament, more players hope to come through in near future.

he however, pledged the NOC support to para table tennis while hoping that the tournament would put the Tokyo-bound players in good shape.

For the Head of Business and Programme, Valuejet, Temitope Ajibola, the company would continue to support sports, while pledging their unalloyed support to para table tennis.

The tournament serves off on Thursday December 19, at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

44 titles will be competed in class 1 to 10 in singles and teams event for men and women, while N10.8m will be the total prize money with the top three in each event getting cash rewards for their efforts.

Source : ATTF 

Paralympian internet sensation Hamato visits Nigeria

To compete at Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open in Lagos

Team Egypt - Ibrahim Hamato

Rio 2016 Paralympian and internet sensation, Ibrahim Hamato will be part of the Egyptian team coming to Nigeria for the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open holding on December 19 to 21 in Lagos.

Hamato, 44 is an Egyptian Para table tennis Champion, winning several honours over the years, including the silver medals in the African Para table tennis Championships in 2011 and 2013.

Hamato lost both his arms as the result of a train accident when he was 10 that in an interview with CNN the Egyptian said “In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer that’s why I played both. It was logic to play soccer first due to my case; then I played table tennis as a challenge.

Hamato has also won an appreciation award under 6th Edition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for the category of athlete who achieved success in sports despite major humanitarian challenges after earning second place and winning the silver medal during the African Para table tennis Championships in December 2013.

According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the presence of Egyptian team who are one of the top playing nations in Africa would add glamour to the tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“We are excited to have Hamato in Lagos because he has been an inspiration to a lot of people across the world and we believe his presence in Lagos would again inspire special athletes to aim high despite their challenges. It promises to be exciting and we cannot wait to have some of the top teams already confirmed for the championship in Lagos. Preparation is ongoing to ensure a hitch-free tournament and we believe hosting this kind of the competition will put Nigeria on the world map and give our players the chance to test might with some of the best in Africa in readiness for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan,” Odebode said.

Over N10.8m ($30,000) will be at stake as players compete in 44 titles in singles and team events.

Source : ATTF