New king and queen of West African table tennis will be crowned this Sunday at the maiden edition of the ITTF West Africa Challenge, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
The two-day tournament, which is being held at the Multipurpose Hall in Trenchville, Abidjan, is hosted by the Federation of Ivorien Table Tennis (FITT) with support from ITTF. Thirty-Eight 38 players – 21 men and 18 women – started the race for the two top prizes at stake.
No upset was recorded in the group stage as all the seeded players worked their way into the knockout stage. The eventual winners in the men and women events will emerge at the end of today’s finals.
A satisfied Deputy Secretary General of FITT, Ali Kanate described hosting the tournament as a good development for Cote d’Ivoire, particularly for the growth of table tennis in the country.
His words: “I am so excited that within a short time, we were able to stage this tournament. Mobilising all the teams was a challenge but with the huge support from ITTF, this was sorted out and we have 11 out of the 15 countries that made up the region.
“The usual bottlenecks synonymous with the first day were there but we believe we have learnt from hosting this competition. This has again shown our ability to stage major competitions, having hosted the 2018 World Junior Circuit and African Junior Championship successfully,” Kanate added.
The Supporters’ Club of the National Football Team, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, were on hand to dazzle the fans with their colourful display at the match venue.
Oba Oba Kizito was the star of the night on Saturday at the Multipurpose Hall in Trenchville, Abidjan as the 24-year-old Ivorien gave the home fans something to cheer in an entertaining quarterfinal tie against Nigeria’s Augustine Emmanuel.
Kizito seeded number three in the men’s event came from 3-2 down to rally back and put a smile on the faces of the fans with his out-of-this-world performance.
An excited Kizito said: “I am so happy with the huge support from the fans because their support really inspired me even when I was 2-3 down.
“It was indeed a massive support for me and I look forward to such in the semifinal. When the match was 2-3, I knew if I could come back I can win. The fighting spirit and the huge support from the fans were the ingredients I needed to overcome my opponent. I am happy to make my country proud and I am urging the fans to come out enmasse and support me in the semifinal.”