After missing their places at the Rio 2016 Olympic during the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, Nigeria’s Segun Toriola and Edem Offiong will take another shot at making it to Brazil at the 2016 Olympics Qualifying Tournament in Khartoum, Sudan on February 16 to 18. The tournament holds after the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup.
Toriola who inspired Nigeria to overcome Egypt to claim the men’s team title in Brazzaville failed to make it to the last four when he was defeated by Chinese-born Congo Brazzaville star, Jianan Wang in the quarterfinal while Offiong who played the game of her life against Egypt’s Dina Meshref narrowly lost to the Egyptian at the same stage of the African Games in Brazzaville.
However, the dream of Toriola of making history in Africa as the first athlete from the continent to feature in seven Olympics may be realised in Sudan.
According to the President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, Egypt is the only country in Africa that will not be competing in the qualifiers having secured the required two places in Brazzaville, with Assar brothers – Omar and Khalid qualifying already.
Egypt will not be sending entries as they have already have two qualified men and two women. These players have also being confirmed by the Egyptian Olympic Committee for the games. But Nigeria and Congo Brazzaville can present one male and one female after already getting one male and one female qualified at the African Games in Brazzaville.
Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Oshonaike as well as Congo Brazzaville’s Jianan Wang and Han Xing joined Egypt’s Assar brothers – Omar and Khalid and Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The ATTF boss disclosed that Africa is expected to present six male and six female for the Olympics while the highest ranked team in Africa by the May Olympic ranking for team will represent the continent in the team event of the Olympics.
He said already for male and four female have already booked their spots during the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, while the two finalists in the men and women event at the Sudan tournament will qualify for the Rio OG to fulfil the continental quota for the single events.