Nigeria Picks 12 Gold Medals at ITTF African Para Championships
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria emerged as the overall champion of the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Para Championships, which ended on Saturday, September 23, 2023, in Giza, Egypt.
The country went away with 12 gold medals to dethrone Egypt as the new para table tennis champion in Africa.
The three-day tournament had hosts – Egypt – Algeria, Nigeria, Mauritius, Cameroon, South Africa, Kenya, and Cote d’Ivoire competing in the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events.
However, Nigeria dominated as the continent’s champions by leading the singles event to pick up most of the tickets to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
From the 14 tickets available for the Paralympic Games, Nigeria picked nine, while Egypt settled for five in the singles events.
However, the host team dominated the doubles and mixed doubles events with five gold medals, while Nigeria picked two.
Nigerian athlete, Faith Obazuaye, won the first ticket after emerging champion in class 10 of the women’s singles. In successive sessions, Nigeria added more tickets in women’s class nine and five singles.
Kayode Alade and Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi became the first African couple to qualify for the Paralympic Games after securing their maiden ticket at the continental tournament.
The President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Mr Khaled El-Salhy, commended all the participating teams and described the tournament as a success, especially with the facilities and hospitality provided by the Egyptian Table Tennis Federation (ETTF).
“I am so happy that we have an improvement in the participation this year, especially with the number of countries that featured in this year’s tournament,” Mr El-Salhy said.
“The players gave a good account of themselves; they showed their quality judging from the matches.
“I congratulate the ETTF and the government of Egypt for being good hosts, and I hope our players will make the continent proud when the Paralympic Games take place next year in France.
“I must also thank the ITTF for their support, and I hope other African countries will focus on para-sports so that we can all be in tune with the ideals of the ITTF,” he added.