by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Prior to the start of proceedings the Egyptian delegation has been in Germany preparing for the tournament under the direction of Maged Ashour, national coach.
Notably, in addition to Omar Assar, compatriots Khalid Assar as well as veteran Ahmed Ali Saleh, are named on the entry list alongside Mohamed Shouman, Karim Elhakem and Mahmoud Helmy.
Also, having now put the disappointment of missing out on team qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last week in Gondomar, Nigeria’s Quadri Quadri and Olajide Omotayo will also be competing in Magdeburg.
Disappointed with the outcome in the Portuguese town but Olajide Omotayo is a most positive character, notably last year he won the men’s singles title at the African Games, undoubtedly a watershed in his career.
“I hope and believe I can make it to Tokyo 2020, because I know that my winning the African Games means more hard work and that is why I am going to compete in some of the elite tournaments this year. I am starting with the German Open with the hope that playing against the best in the world will toughen me and also help me to be in shape for the African Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tunisia next month.” Olajide Omotayo
Olajide Omotayo and Omar Assar must start their journey in the preliminary stage, a situation that applies also to Quadri Aruna, a tournament that witnesses the vast majority of the top 16 players in the world listed in the seeding; the Nigerian is the 18th in the order of preference.
Significantly, Africa’s most improved player in 2019, Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw will be hoping to repeat the form that saw him rise to no.76 in on the current World rankings. Based in Denmark he starts his quest in the second preliminary round. He partners Olajide Omotayo in the men’s doubles.
Meanwhile African female stars, Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou will also be in action in the women’s singles as part of their build up for the 2020 Africa Top 16 Cup to be staged next month in Tunisia.
Sarah Hanffou, who is eager to compete at Tokyo 2020, will also be using the tournament to tune up for the African Olympic Qualifying Tournament. She hopes to seal one of the four slots at stake in Tunis.