Team Nigeria contingent have departed Lagos for the 2019 Africa Para Table Tennis Championships holding in Alexandria, Egypt.
The tournament serves as continental qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games holding in Japan.
Paralympian trio of Tajudeen Agunbiade, Nosiru Sule and Ahmed Koleosho, as well as six others, has been named by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for the championship.
The tournament which serves as Tokyo Paralympics Games qualifiers for the continent serves off on June 30 with players from Egypt, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Tunisia will be aiming to secure their places at the Paralympics Games in Egypt this weekend.
For three days, the players will be competing in 10 classes with all eyes on Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa who are top contenders in Africa.
Other members of Team Nigeria are Olufemi Alabi, Faith Bazuaye, Farinloye Victor, Faith Obiora and Popoola Surakat while Sunday Odebode will tutor the team.
NTTF Board member, Elderson Bankole will be leading the delegation to Egypt.
According to the President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the tournament would afford the players the chance to amass points for their eventual qualification for Tokyo 2020.
“The tournament is very important for the African players to get an event with factor 50 (F50) to raise their ranking points compared with the other available events far away in other continents with (F20) or maximum (F40), taking into consideration that ranking point is very important to lead for qualification to Paralympics Games and World Title Events
“The event is a qualification for Tokyo 2020 as the winners in every single class should be directly qualified for Tokyo provided to have the minimum limit of ranking points to be announced by ITTF,” said ATTF boss.
He added: “This is the first African PTT since 4 years when we did the same event in Agadir, Morocco in 2015 (which was also qualification for Rio 2016), thus all African PTT players are so keen to take part this year with F50 event and a good chance for direct qualification to the Paralympics Games,” he added.
On the readiness of ETTF for the tournament, Khaled El-Salhy said: “ETTF is working hard with the LOC from Alexandria to have a special event, taking into consideration that the event will be in the same time when Egypt will host the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and there is a group that will play in Alexandria composed by Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi). So it seems we will have a very interesting time in Alexandria, the bride of the Mediterranean.”