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TABLE TENNIS: BATTLE FOR REGIONAL GONGS IGNITES ABIDJAN

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Abidjan, the national capital of Cote d’Ivoire and one of the most populous French-speaking cities in Africa, is abuzz on a much higher scale on Saturday.

Reason: The best table tennis players in West Africa are in the city ready to do battle for regional honours over Saturday Nand Sunday at the Multipurpose Hall in Trenchville.

There are 15 countries in the region and 11 of them are already here for the two-day showpiece, with 39 participants aiming for the regional slots at the 2020 Africa Top 16 Cup.

The ping-pong gladiators – 21 men and 18 women – will be assessed based on their prowess on the table to pick West Africa’s best who will represent the region at the glamorous continental championship to be hosted by Tunisia in 2020.

Excitement over the feast of great table tennis play expected at this tournament is sky high. It was palpable in the air on Thursday, October 31, at a press briefing held to herald the qualifiers by the host national association – Federation of Ivorien Table Tennis (FITT).

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At the briefing, President, FITT, Prof. Germain Karou, who is also the Secretary General of Western Africa Region, told the media that all was set for the tournament.

Karou said: “We have put everything in place to ensure a smooth tournament and with the huge support from ITTF coupled with the backing from the government of Cote d’Ivoire, we are ready to host the best regional championship.

“As the region with the largest number of countries, I am happy to inform you that 11 of the 15 countries will be in Abidjan for the tournament. This is indeed an encouragement for us in the region.

“On behalf of the President, ITTF West Africa, Wahid Oshodi, I am happy to officially open the tournament and welcome all our visitors to Abidjan, which is one of Africa’s cities of pride,” Karou added.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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