After losing Africa’s sole slot to Egypt for Team Event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Nigeria will take another shot at the ticket at the ITTF World Team Qualification Event holding in Gondomar, Portugal from January 22 to 26 next year.
According to the world table tennis ruling body, nine teams across the globe are expected to pick their places in the team event of the Olympic Games in Portugal.
National coach, Nosiru Bello said that attending the qualifying tournament in Portugal has becomes important for the team having showed some promises at the just concluded ITTF Team World Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
“We want to commendthe Ministry of Youth and Sport for their support to be part of the World Cup in Tokyo and from what we gained in the tournament, I think it is important for us to be part of the qualifiers in Portugal having lost the single slot for Africa to Egypt at the last African Games.
“From the performance of the team in Tokyo, it is clear that we have a strong team that can compete with the rest of the world and we are using this medium to appeal to the ministry to support us just like they have been doing so that we can be part the tournament early next year. It is another opportunity for us to be part of the team event at Tokyo 2020 just like we did at Rio 2016,” he said.
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For Aruna Quadri, the sports ministry must be commended for sponsoring the team to Tokyo, but appealed for more support for the qualifiers in Portugal. “For us in Europe, Portugal is like second home to us and we will want to compete again so that we can be part of the team event in Tokyo. I must also admit that it is not going to be an easy tournament, but I believe we can make it looking at our present form,” Quadri said.