by Simon Daish
Heading the Men’s Singles tournament is Omar Assar of Egypt, who will be looking to pick up his third ITTF World Tour title.
Assar was victorious at both the 2014 and 2015 Lagos Opens, and also took home the 2015 African Games trophy where he defeated Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna in the final.
Being the highest ranked player at the 2016 Belgium Open will give Omar Assar optimism of adding another gold from the Tour, which would help to re-establish himself as one of Africa’s strongest Table Tennis players.
Sitting just behind the top seed is Germany’s Steffen Mengel and not far behind him are two more German players seeded in the top ten.
Mengel has never won a Men’s Singles gold on the World Tour – his personal best finish is as runner-up. However, despite an early exit from the 2016 Czech Open (Round of 32) Mengel will fancy his chances in De Haan as the second seed.
Ricardo Walther and Benedikt Duda (both Germany) are seeded fifth and seventh in the category respectively. Could one of the three Germans leave the Open as champion?
Host Nation Contenders
Belgium fans will be delighted to know that arguably two of their strongest competitors will be participating at the Open, with both Robin Devos and Cedric Nuytinck seeded well for the event.
Devos (13th) will be hoping to obtain his first trophy on the Tour, with the aim of beating his second place finish achieved at the 2013 Morocco Open, while Nuytinck (15th) has shown his potential with victories over Patrick Baum (Germany) and Paul Drinkhall (England) at last year’s European Championships.
Florent Lambiet, Martin Allegro and Lauric Jean are the three other Belgians seeded in the top 50; with the help of the home fans there could be one or two surprises from the country’s contingent over the four days.