less than 40 days to go until the start of the International
Table Tennis Federation - Africa Top 16 Championships scheduled
for March, Kenya on Wednesday named two players to represent the
East African nation.
Sejal Thakkar and
Bryan Mutua are putting the final touches on their game as they
go head-to-head with Africa’s most respected table tennis stars,
and the local organizing committee headed by Joseph Okello is
working around the clock to ensure all is well ahead of the
“The tournament is a
special event in the hearts and minds of the continental table
tennis community,” Okello said, adding that it is a privilege to
host the continent’s most challenging men’s and women’s event,
which holds the key to the World Cup slots for the continent.
This year’s Africa
Top 16 will include the continent’s top players, who have
encouraged many new regional competitors to show interest in the
Nairobi 2018 edition.
Cup holders Aruna
Quadri of Nigeria and Meshref Dina of Egypt have confirmed
participation and are expected to be star attractions at the
event, Andrew Mudibo, President of Kenya Table Tennis
Association, told journalists in Nairobi.
Mutua is one of the
fastest rising Kenyan youngsters and a prodigy from Mwala High
School, Kenya’s leading school in the game.
Thakkar will make
her fourth appearance at this year’s Commonwealth Games to
represent Kenya in the women’s category soon after competing at
the continental competition.
“Passion for the
game is what drives me and brings me back to the table tennis
time and again. Playing against the best in Africa, some of who
I have interacted with in the past will be a moment to savor for
long,” she said.
She said most of the
players are ranked globally and playing against them will
improve the duo’s ranking and prepare them for the Commonwealth
Sami Kherouf of
Algeria will represent the Northern region in the men’s category
while Brian Chan Yook Fo will do duty for Mauritius.
Assar Omar and Saleh
Ahmed will represent Egypt while Africa’s leading player,
Toriola Segun of Nigeria, who is a veteran of seven Olympic
Games, will represent the West African nation.
Others are Mamia
Thameur (Tunisia), Idowu Saheed (Congo), Oba Oba Chizito (Cote
de Ivorie), Soufiane Harb (Morocco) and the South African duo of
Lingeveldt Kurt and Lingeveldt Keegan.
The ladies category
will have 16-year-old Prathma Jalim of Mauritius, Saidani Safa
(Tunisia), Oshonaike Olufunke (Nigeria), Abdel-Aziz Farah
(Egypt), Nigerian Olympian Edem Offiong, and Algerian duo of
Loghraibi Lynda and Laid slem.
Others are Han Xing
of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire’s Sarah Hanffou of Ping Sans
Frontieres, Tshepiso Rebatenne of Cameroon and Okockou Ira of
Congo. The central, western and southern regions are yet to
submit names of their qualifiers.