As at the last registration for the 2018 ITTF African Championships holding in Mauritius, 22 countries including host have been confirmed for the tournament. This is a record entries for the tournament in recent times and the countries expected in the Ocean Island include – host, Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Gabon, Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroun, Somalia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Madagascar, Togo, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Djibouti, Comoros, Libya, Eritrea and Congo DRC.

For the President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, this is a good development for the continent. “Yes I am so happy in following up the expected good number of entries in-spite of the received information from National Associations, hoping that all could do it and come with us to Mauritius soon,” the ATTF boss said.

Aside the tournament, Khaled El-Salhy said the Mauritius would afford the reconsider its new strategic plan for the next few years. “This time we have a special ITTF/ATTF Forum “Table Tennis For All. For Life” holding on 3 to 4 September in which we are planning to conduct our new continental Strategic Plan for the coming years of 2018 to 2024. ATTF is looking to conduct a special Strategic Plan satisfying the needs of all African Associations with a great concentration for the activities through Regions in the future in which more small nations could come with less cost. ”

He is confidence that Mauritius can stage a befitting event. “As per experience we have very successful events in Mauritius (i.e. African Seniors Championship in 1998 & 2004 plus African Juniors & Cadet Championship in 2015) with a very fantastic performance from Mauritius Table Tennis Association (MTTA), thus I am expecting to have a very special event as one of the top professional organization in Africa.”

For the ATTF helmsman, what would make the tournament exciting is the fact that the event would serves as the qualification for the 2019 World Team Cup in Tokyo, Japan. “The Mauritius will also serve as the qualification for the next World Team Cup to be held in November 2019 in Tokyo as a test event for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 in Japan.

To update the knowledge of the players on the importance of the media, Khaled El-Salhy said there is plan to stage a media workshop for players and teams during the Mauritius party, while the Executive Council cum Council Board meetings will also take place.

On his expectations, he said: “I am expecting some sort of big competition that leads for a breakdown variation of gold medals between more countries.”

On plans for the future, he added: “Next year is an essential one as we will start our way for qualification to Tokyo 2020, with the first being the 2019 African Games in Morocco in which we will know the teams in Men and Women to represent Africa in the team events of Tokyo 2020. After that by the start of 2020, we will go on for the 2nd step of qualification to the remaining slots for singles and mixed doubles, and this step will be together with the 2020 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup within the first quarter of 2020.”