by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, their efforts have not gone unrecognised, Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation is clearly delighted with the performances of the continent’s two leading players.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer
“Having two players from Africa in the tournament means a great deal, both being in the top 40 of the World rankings; we will try to support them for the future to maintain the opportunity for Africa to have more than one representative in World Cup.
Both players did very well and it was clear that they had perfect preparation for the event, both qualified for the main draw.
Quadri Aruna almost claimed top spot in his group; he was beaten by the minimal two points in the seventh game by Korea’s Lee Sangsu. Omar Assar also played well but it seems in his first ever appearance with a new look, contact lenses instead of his traditional glasses, he needs more time to get used to the change.
The main lesson for our players in such an event is to keep working hard to remain focused in the company of a group of stars. I ask the associations of Nigeria and Egypt to give more attention to the two players especially for the World Cup. We saw most of the participating top stars coming with a team group, coach, physio and doctor.
National associations must give the chance for all our young talented players to participate worldwide in many ITTF sanctioned events including continental events and to study after each event all weak points.
I am so happy with the event; it is a new record for Africa to have two horses in the race, the organization was very good for both players and officials.”