by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
At the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Tunisia’s Adem Hmam partnered China’s Gu Yuting to success in the Mixed Team event; they won the bronze medal.
In Tunis when play concludes, with a maximum of one boy and one girl per National Olympic Committee, two boys and two girls will have booked their places in the Argentine capital city.
Khalid El-Salhy, President African Table Tennis Federation, is very much hoping that the success gained Adem Hmam can be repeated in Buenos Aires.
“Africa was on the podium at the first Youth Olympic Games that was held in 2010 in Singapore; such event is very important to us and gives much promotion to our top junior players”, Khalid El-Salhy
Three events are staged a Youth Olympic Games, Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Team events, each team comprising one boy and one girl.
“If one boy and one girl qualifies from the same country then they will be together as the mixed team; in case the four qualified players come from four different Associations, then we will arrange with their National Olympic Committees to combine them into two mixed teams in the name of Africa 1 and Africa 2”, Khalid El-Salhy
However the first task is to reserve a place in Buenos Aires before any team negotiations can take place. Egypt and Nigeria are the traditional powerhouse nations but competition will be intense; having the title Olympian is a glittering prize in itself.
“Expect countries like Algeria, Angola and maybe Congo Brazzaville can alter the status quo at the qualifiers”, Khalid El-Salhy
In order to compete in the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, athletes must be born between Saturday 1st January 2000 and Wednesday 31st December 2003.