by Olalekan Okusan, Member Relations Media Officer
Most significantly, Mr. Lotfi Guerfel, President of the Tunisia Table Tennis Federation (TTTF), re-elected in March, believes they are ready to stage a tournament befitting the stature of the event, strict compliance to Covid-19 protocols being in place.
In the last three years, Tunisia has been at the forefront of staging major continental and international competitions; the country hosted the 2020 African Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Tournament some 15 months ago, before there was global total lockdown necessitated by the pandemic.
Most certainly, Tunisia is ready, Mr. Guerfel explained:
“We feel proud of the confidence we have gained in organising such an important event for the first time in Africa. In the spirit of one team, and with the co-operation of all stakeholders, we are determined to make this WTT Youth Star Contender a great success honouring Tunisia and our African continent.
Of course, I am very happy that Tunisia is the first African country to host a WTT Youth Star Contender, we will continue to honour not only Tunisia but all the Continent; it is a great achievement to restart in this difficult pandemic environment and to give youth athletes the chance to restart with international competition.
In fact, with all the team, we have set up a strategic plan for the new term 2021 to 2024, many goals in terms of administration, competitions, elite, media, sponsorship, development, veterans, para table tennis. The main aim of these goals is to make table tennis more popular and accessible to all, table tennis everywhere, table tennis for all.
We believe that our sport can have a positive impact on society. For us, table tennis is more than a simple sport, it could be a social lift. We will do our best to make table tennis one of the most popular sports in Tunisia by increasing the number of official clubs and players.
Also, more effort will be deployed in the coming years to implement diversity and inclusion in our sport. We will focus on establishing new clubs in the marginalised areas and poor cities, offering equal chances to both sexes and to disabled people.
We have previous experience in organising many international tournaments, but frankly speaking, this time we have confronted different types of difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are totally ready to host this tournament successfully. A great team with clear tasks is already in place to welcome our guests and to serve them as best as possible. A strict sanitary protocol will be applied to all delegations, participants, coaches and referees. All sanitary logistics are available to ensure a safe tournament.
We have done our best as a federation by preparing excellent conditions for our Tunisian team. Our international players have worked hard despite the sanitary confinement. We believe it’s a great opportunity for them to compete with many international top ranked players.” Lotfi Guerfel, President of the TTTF