Nigeria and 93 countries have been listed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for the 2016 World Team Championships holding in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur from Sunday February 28 to Sunday March 6.
Nigeria and Egypt are the only two countries that made the list of 46 teams that qualified automatically based on their ranking for the tournament.
In 2014, Nigeria was unfortunate to lose to England and missed making it to the top 20 teams in the world.
Unlike Nigeria and Egypt, countries like Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Ghana, Morocco, Togo and Tunisia made the list of participants through the continental tournament held in Egypt in 2015.
In the list of qualified countries confirmed by ITTF, over 94 countries will compete in the men’s event while 84 nations will battle for titles in the women’s cadre.
Meanwhile, the Swaythling Cup and the Corbillon Cup are at stake. China, the defending champions, occupies the top seeded positions in both the Men’s and Women’s events at the 2016 World Team Championships.
In each of the Men’s Team and Women’s Team events there are four divisions. There are 24 outfits in each of the top three divisions; in Men’s Division Four, there are 22 teams, in Women’s Division Four, there are 12 teams.
Teams in the Championship Division are seeded no.1 to no.24; in Division Two from no.25 to no.48, in Division Three from no.49 to no.72 and in Division Four from no.73 onwards.
The teams that finished in the top 16 places at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo are guaranteed a place in the Championship Division regardless of World Ranking.
Meanwhile, the teams who finished in first and second places in the remaining divisions in Tokyo gain promotion to the next highest division.
Teams promoted to the Championship Division are guaranteed a seeded position of no.23 and no.24 unless their current World Team ranking determines a higher place.
The same principle applies to Division Two where the promoted teams are guaranteed a seeding of no.47 and no.48; also to Division Three where the minimal seeding is no.71 and no.72.
Malaysia, as the hosts, has accepted the option of a place in the Championship Division in both the Men’s and Women’s events.
England and Italy are the promoted outfits in the Men’s event, in the Women’s event it is Brazil and Sweden. The remaining places are allocated based on the current World Team ranking.
Teams who finished in positions no.27 to no.40 at the ZEN-HOH 2014 World Team Championships receive an automatic place in Division Two, as do the teams who finished in places no.51 to no.64 in Division Three.
Initially, in each event there are four groups with six teams in each group; teams finishing the first three places in each group progress to the main draw, teams finishing in the latter three places compete for the lower positions.
Fixtures in the second stage are based on the knock-out principle.
Seeding in every division is based on the World Team Ranking published for January 2016; the World Team Ranking for each national association is based on the three highest ranked players in that association named on the current Men’s and Women’s World Rankings.
The draw for the Championship Division, Division Two and Division Three will take place at 3.00pm (local time) on Saturday16th January at the Subang Grand Dorsett Hotel.
Later, the draw for Division Four be conducted at 11.00am on Friday 26th February.