12 Aug 2021

After an initial delay owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, will be stage the 2021 African Championships from Wednesday 1st to Tuesday 7th September.

by Olalekan Okusan

The tournament returns to Cameroon after a period of 11 years, when Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Sarah Hanffou won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles.

Notably both competed in the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Alfred Bagueka Assobo, Tournament Director and President of the Cameroon Table Tennis Association, is confident that both the country and the association are ready to host the event.

He explained:

‘‘First, we want to thank ATTF members for giving us the first experience in 2010. As you know, the event was scheduled to take place in 2020. However, it was postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19. It was initially planned for the end of May but as it was conflicting with other international events, we decided to postpone it, again, till September.

These postponements have certainly helped us to improve our readiness. All the equipment sent by ITTF which made up flooring, tables, nets, scorers, balls, and towel boxes have arrived and have been cleared at the Port in Douala. They are now stored safely in Yaoundé. The venue itself – the Multipurpose Sports Complex of Yaoundé is available and waiting for the big event.

The tournament is coming up just a few weeks after the Olympic Games. The competition will mark the restart in Africa as far as table tennis is concerned, after more than one year of interruption due to Covid-19. Table tennis players all over Africa are eager to compete again. The competition will take place three weeks after the Olympic Games and two months before the World Championships in Houston.’

There is a protocol which is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) directives, the measures enacted by the Government of Cameroon and the recommendations of the ITTF.

Cameroon had the opportunity to organise the Africa Women’s Handball Championships in June, this year at the same venue hosting the tournament. It was a very good experience in terms of handling the Covid-19 pandemic. We have learnt from that experience as a medical team of experienced doctors will be present in the venue all through the competition.

During the Africa Women’s Handball Championships, few spectators were allowed to watch the matches at the venue. For the moment, we are still waiting, and a decision has to be made in respect of this.”

General News 2021 African Championships