by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It is for the African Table Tennis Federation a landmark moment; certainly a major boost for the continent.
Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer spoke to Khaled El-Salhy, President of the African Table Tennis Federation
“Congratulations to Africa for the first time to have two qualifiers to participate in the Men’s World Cup. Quadri Aruna already qualified earlier in July as per his title in ITTF-Africa Cup that was held in Agadir, Morocco and I can confirm to you that Omar Assar also qualified as per World Ranking.
I was following up the ATTU-ITTF Asia Cup that has been concluded and calculated the possibility for Omar Assar comparing him with the top number fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth ranked players in Asia and Europe.
It is a fantastic moment in the history of table tennis in Africa by having two qualifiers among the top 20 players in the World Cup. It is for sure due to the high ranking of our top African players. I am so happy and on behalf of all African table tennis, I wish Quadri Aruna and Omar Assar the best of luck to represent Africa in the forthcoming Men’s World Cup.”
Invitations: Ma Long (China), Quadri Aruna (Nigeria), Lin Gaoyuan (China), Gustavo Tsuboi (Brazil), Kanak Jha (United States), David Powell (Australia), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany), Lee Sangsu (Korea), Chen Chien-An (Chinese Taipei), Alexander Shibaev (Russia), Simon Gauzy (France), Jun Mizutani (Japan), Kou Lei (Ukraine), Timo Boll (Germany), Omar Assar (Egypt), Jeong Sangeun (Korea), Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei), Koki Niwa (Japan), Cédric Nuytinck (Belgium)
Note: Only two players per national association are eligible to compete in the Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup; players must have competed in their respective continental cup tournaments. The World Ranking list taken into account is that of August 2017. The wild card place is yet to be announced and the participation of Ma Long is currently part of an ITTF disciplinary investigation.