01 Sep 2021

Exactly 18 months after the last major competition was staged in Africa, Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, is bustling with life more than usual as the delayed 2021 ITTF African Championships commences on Wednesday 1st September.

To herald the commencement of the Championships, a press conference was held at the Hotel Mont Febe, attended by several top African players, all eager to return to action after the long break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Member Associations Press Officer

Currently in a rich vein of form, the best-performing African player at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Egypt’s Omar Assar is most certainly ready for the action.

The Tokyo 2020 quarter-finalist applauded the Cameroon Table Tennis Association for hosting the tournament in these trying times. He commended them for the excellent organisation so far seen in Yaoundé.

“I am happy that we can play together in Africa again. I must thank the Cameroon Table Tennis Association for their efforts at ensuring that a major tournament starts again in Africa. I have put the outing in Tokyo behind me and I am looking forward to performing well in Yaounde.” Omar Assar

Hometown boy Igor Boulmo is excited that his table tennis idol, Omar Assar is here at the tournament.

“I have been idolising Omar since I was young. I am happy he is here to play; I am looking forward to playing against him. I want to give 100 per cent in this competition with the hope that my best will be rewarded. It is great to play at home and it is good that table tennis is back.” Igor Boulmo

Meanwhile, for the 2019 African Games Champion, Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, the tournament is another opportunity to reenact his Rabat feat. He hopes for a good draw in the singles.

Similarly, six-time African champion, Dina Meshref, intends to enjoy herself at these championships. She stated that she would not play to the gallery against any of her rivals.

The press conference in Yaoundé (Photo: courtesy of Olalekan Okusan)


Notably, President of the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, hailed the Alfred Bagueka Assobo led Cameroon Table Tennis Association for their relentless efforts to ensure the tournament holds despite Covid-19. He assured Covid-19 protocol would be duly observed by players and officials all through the tournament.

For the Tournament Director and President of the Cameroon Table Tennis Association, Alfred Bagueka Assobo, hosting the tournament became possible through the enormous supports from ITTF and ATTF.

He thanked the government of Cameroon for accepting to host the first continental tournament after the global lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fans will be allowed in the venue. Regular Covid-19 tests will be conducted on players and officials throughout the tournament

The full gambit of events will be staged – men’s team, women’s team, men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles.

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