by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Early in the proceedings, all three face prodigious potential adversaries.
A possible second round opponent for Quadri Aruna, the no.22 seed, is Iran’s Nima Alamian, the no.54 seed; negotiate that hurdle and it is more than likely, China’s Fan Zhendong, the top seeds, awaits.
Testing times ahead for Quadri Aruna, it is arguably even more exacting for Omar Assar, the no.40 seed; should he negotiate the opening round successfully, the potential adversary is the Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the bronze medallist two years ago in Düsseldorf.
Equally for Dina Meshref, the no.34 seed, she appears in the same quarter of the draw as China’s Ding Ning, the top seed and defending champion. However, if she is to face the reigning world champion, she will have to negotiate the opening round against a qualifier, before accounting for potential opponents in the guise of Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.21 seed and Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.8 seed.
All three Africans are now experienced, a fact more than evident in the the mixed doubles. The Nigerian pair formed by Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike occupy the no.21 mixed doubles seeded position. Omar Assar and Dina Meshref are three places lower in the no.24 spot.
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Ali Saleh are the no.24 seeds; in the women’s doubles, it is similarly Egypt that flies the African flag. Farah Abdel-Aziz and Reem El-Eraky reserve the no.22 seeded position, Yousra Helmy and Dina Meshref are one place below.
The main draw matches in the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles commence on Monday 22nd April, the men’s singles and women’s singles on Tuesday 23rd April.