by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
The premier event of the year but in addition, Africa will host both Seamaster ITTF Challenge Series and ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments.
It is an advance on last year, a situation which Khaled El-Salhy, President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), acknowledged.
“The main difference is due to the fact that 2019 is the first step of qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The 2019 African Games will be held in Morocco; the ATTF will apply the new system of qualification for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Thus, ITTF and ATTF will announce before the end of August 2019 the men and women teams that will represent Africa in Tokyo 2020. The next step of qualification for the remaining quotas is singles and mixed doubles; that will come later in 2020 during the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup.” Khaled El-Salhy
Lagos will host the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Series Nigeria Open from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 11th August. Meanwhile, ITTF World Junior Circuit tournaments will be hosted in Morocco from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th June and in Egypt from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th October.
“We are planning to give much more strength to our regions to spread development activities through the ITTF contribution for 2019. We are following up with all national associations for their plans of development and encouraging them to participate in our African events which are the main gates to qualify for world events.” Khaled El-Salhy
Notably, the busiest national association is Ghana; the city of Accra will host an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament from Monday 1st to Friday 5th April, followed by the African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships from Sunday 7th to Saturday 13th April.
“We try always to connect the African Junior Championships with a Junior Circuit event to ensure having a good chance for our talented juniors to take part in an important ITTF sanctioned event, together with the main continental one to qualify for World Junior Championships and World Cadet Challenge. Meanwhile we try always to organize our African events in many parts of Africa to activate the whole body of our continent; then finally we follow up with our brave national associations who host ITTF sanctioned events to show to the whole World that Africa can organize very successful events.” Khaled El-Salhy
Also in addition, the ITTF-Africa Cup is planned for late July; in June Alexandria will host both the Egypt Para Open and the African Para Championships.
Africa Table Tennis Federation: 2019 Calendar (as on Wednesday 9th January)