by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Notably the tournament carries a high weighting factor for ranking purposes; basically the higher the number, the more points on offer. It is a fact recognised by Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation.
“The tournament is very important for the African players to get an event with Factor 50 to raise their ranking points compared with the other available events far away in other continents with Factor 20 or maximum Factor 40. Ranking points are very important in the lead up for qualification for the Paralympics Games and World title events.
The event is a qualification for Tokyo 2020, as the winners in each singles’ class will be directly qualified for Tokyo provided to have they have minimum number of ranking points to be announced later.
This is the first African para tournament has been held for four years when we did the same event in Agadir, Morocco in 2015, which was also qualification for Rio 2016. Thus all African para players are keen to take part this year with the tournament being Factor 50 and a good chance for direct qualification to the Paralympics Games.
The Egyptian Table Tennis Federation is working hard with the local organizing committee from Alexandria to have a special event, taking into consideration that the event will be at the same time when Egypt will hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations. There is a group that will play in Alexandria composed by Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi. It seems we will have a very interesting time in Alexandria, the bride of the Mediterranean.
We have received entries from eight African associations, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia by the closing date of entry. They will play singles events as qualification for Tokyo 2020 plus also team events for the continental championships.
Each class should have at least four players from at least two different associations. It seems we will have all classes for men starting from class 2 to 11; we may have the record opportunity to conduct a class 11 for the first time in Africa. In women we will combine some classes together due to the shortage of entries in some classes.
Organised in the Complex Hall in the Olympic Club in Alexandria, prior to the African Championships a total of 21 countries that are coming to the Egypt Para Open to get more points for their players, better chance of qualification to Tokyo 2020.” Khalid El-Salhy