07 Apr 2023

As the world eagerly awaits the start of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals 2023, all eyes are on Africa as the continent prepares to host this prestigious event for the first time in 84 years. The last time the tournament was held in Africa was in Cairo, Egypt in 1939, making this year’s event all the more special. Fans from across the region are eagerly anticipating the chance to welcome some of the world’s top table tennis players to African soil and to cheer on their homegrown heroes as they take to the court.

For many African players, the World Championships represents the pinnacle of their sporting careers, and the opportunity to compete on home turf is a dream come true. Among them are some of the brightest stars of the sport, including Omar Assar, Quadri Aruna, Dina Meshref, and Hana Goda. Their journey to the top has been marked by hard work, dedication, and the unwavering support of their fans and fellow players.

But the story of African table tennis is not just about the present and future stars of the sport. It’s also about the legends who paved the way for them, such as Segun Toriola from Nigeria, El-Sayed Lashin from Egypt, and Shane Overmeyer from South Africa.

Segun Toriola holds the record for playing in 21 World Championships, both team and individual events, and he’s ecstatic about the return of the tournament to Africa and is certain this year’s event is going to do wonders to the African table tennis community.

“I am thrilled that the tournament will be returning to Africa. This means a lot to us and I believe many countries on the continent can host the event. Hosting the event will positively impact table tennis on the continent. It’s like introducing the sport in Africa again after over 80 years. I’m sure it will inspire players, motivate African federations to work harder too and encourage the African governments to invest in table tennis.” – Segun Toriola

Segun Toriola’s outstanding career was pivotal in placing Nigeria on the map of world table tennis, but he is not the only Nigerian to have made a mark in the sport. The country has been a breeding ground for legendary players such as Atanda Musa, who dominated the game in the 1980s and early 1990s, Olufunke Oshonaike, who is the only woman with seven Olympic table tennis appearances and let’s not forget Bose Kaffo, who became the second Nigerian woman to compete at five Olympics, from 1992 to 2008.

El-Sayed Lashin at the London 2012 Olympic Games

But the legends have also come from all over the region. El-Sayed Lashin, a former player from Egypt, is no stranger to performing on a big stage like the World Championships. He has also represented his nation at several Continental Championships, All African Games, Olympic Games and is a three-time African Cup winner.

“The World Championships is the ultimate test of a player’s skill and ability. It’s where you can measure yourself against the best in the world and see where you stand. I truly hope that African players will seize this opportunity to shine and make the continent proud. With so many talented players continuing to give hope to Africa with their performances, this year’s event is set to be a celebration of African table tennis. These players have already made us proud and will continue to do so on the biggest stage of them all.” – El-Sayed Lashin

Shane Overmeyer of South Africa in action

Shane Overmeyer, a retired player from South Africa, is another table tennis legend who helped to develop the sport in his country and across the continent. A household name in South Africa, he has won the National Championships multiple times and has represented his country in numerous Continental Championships, Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. He is looking forward to welcoming the world to his country.

“This is a significant moment for the sport in Africa. It presents a unique opportunity to showcase South Africa’s culture and our ability to host such high-level events for the rest of the world. To host the World Championships in any sport is good for Africa and we need to seize on it and make our people aware of this amazing sport.” – Shane Overmeyer.

These are just some of the table tennis legends who paved the way for today’s stars and helped to develop table tennis in their respective countries and across the continent. The return of the tournament to Africa is a testament to their hard work and commitment to the sport. It’s a new dawn for the sport in Africa, and the future is bright. Their legacy will live on as a new generation of African table tennis players follows in their footsteps and there’s no doubt that the event will inspire the next generation to work hard, pursue their dreams, and make their mark on the global stage.

General News 2023 ITTF World Championships Finals

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