by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
A successful ITTF World Cadet Challenge tournament in Sharm El-Sheikh, Khaled El-Salhy has every confidence that Cape Town will respond in a similar manner.
“I am so sure that the World Junior Championships in Cape Town will be well organised owing to the great experience of the South African Table Tennis Board”, said Khalid El-Salhy, who is well aware that whilst organisational requirements are ever more demanding, responses have been more than positive.
“Africa has hosted many World title events in trecent years; this means a great deal to the African Table Tennis Federation and underlines the fact that we can ensure top professional organization and live television coverage”, said Khalid El-Salhy. “Thus this is a real sign that Africa stands on the same level as Europe and Asia when hosting major events.”
In the past ten years, ITTF World Tour events have been staged in Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria, whilst the ITTF World Junior Circuit has visited Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.
“Sometimes the challenge for African countries has been identified as visa problems or financial difficulties which have prevented participation; the African Table Tennis Federation tries always to push and help teams to show up”, added Khaled El-Salhy. “However, I am so happy that in the two previous World Junior Championships that were held in Africa, all qualified teams, including three teams from Africa plus the host, made it to the competitions.”
The World Junior Championships were staged in Egypt in 2005 and in Morocco in 2013.
“Unfortunately Tunisia will not have the chance to come to Cape Town due to financial reasons, thus we will have Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria plus South Africa”, confirmed Khaled El-Salhy. “I wish to see some top African players in the main draw, especially Youssef Abdel-Aziz from Egypt and Esther Oribamise from Nigeria.”
Egypt will field both Boys’ Teams and Girls’ Teams as will Nigeria and the hosts, South Africa; Algeria will be represented by a Girls’ Team.
“African players have a very big reputation recently due to the super results of our top players”, concluded Khaled El-Salhy. “I am so eager to get more top players from Africa in the coming years to make it to the podium of World title events.”
Standards have been set, most certainly there is an opportunity in Cape Town but the opposition will be most testing.