Africa’s number one table tennis player, Quadri Aruna, and heir apparent, Olajide Omotayo, are among top African stars listed for the first official table tennis event of the year-the World Table Tennis (WTT) championship scheduled for Qatar.
African Legend, Ahmed Salih, Omar Assar and Assad Khalid will also be part of the two events which have $600,000 as prize money, and will take place at the Lusail Sports Arena in Doha from March 3 to 13.
According to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the Middle East hub will feature two tiers of the new WTT event structure with WTT Contender Doha kick-starting the tournament before players move onto the first WTT Star Contender event the following week, providing the perfect preparation for challenge to some leading stars by the best up-and-coming athletes in table tennis.
Aruna will join world-class talent to light up Doha in the men’s events such as world No.2, Two, Xu Xin (China), World No.5, Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), World No.6, Hugo Calderano (Brazil) and World No.7, Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei).
Other elite players include World No.8, Mattias Falck (Sweden), Jang Woojin From Korea Republic, and Dimitrij Ovtcharov From Germany, ranked 11th and 12th in the men’s category, respectively.
However, Omotayo, Taiwo Mati and Nurudeen Hassan have been listed to compete in the qualifiers for WTT Contender Doha from February 28 to March 2, with successful players listed for the main event on March 3 to 6.
Omotayo will fight for a place in the main event from the qualifiers, while Mati and Hassan are among the reserve players to be considered after the list of players has been finalised by the organisers.
In the Women’s Category, African Number one, Dina Meshref, will lead her colleagues to represent African in Qatar.
The WTT Contender event will feature a singles main draw of 32 players in Men’s and Women’s category respectively and 16-pair doubles per gender and in the mixed doubles.
The qualifying draw will feature 96 players per gender in the singles and 32 pairs in the mixed doubles with $200,000 as prize money.
WTT Star Contender Doha’s qualifying rounds will begin on March 6, while the main event will hold from March 8 to 13. The WTT Star Contender event will comprise a singles main draw of 48 players per gender and 16-pair doubles per gender and in the mixed doubles.
The qualifying draw will feature 64 players per gender in the singles and 32 pairs in the mixed doubles, while the prize money is $400,000.
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