It was the maiden edition and it lived up to expectation as 101 countries from eight nations showed up for the two-day Abidjan International Open held on December 14 and 15 at Palace of Sports of Treichville in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

From the list made available by the Secretary General of the Federation Ivorian Table Tennis (FITT), Thiery Kouadjo, countries that took part in the tournament include host – Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Gabon and China.

Being the number seeded player in the men’s singles, Frenchman Salifou Abdel-Kader lived up to expectation when he defeated Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke in the final.

According to Thiery Kouadjo, Salifou Abdel-Kader combined his skills with experience to claim the title ahead of other competitors. “He really made the difference in every game.”

Thiery Kouadjo however, said there are plans to include the tournament in the calendar of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) in order to attract more countries in Africa.

“We hope to contact ATTF to register this International Open Abidjan it its calendar with the hope that it will make ITTF list in future. We are also going to focus on communicating with many countries willing to participate in the 2019 edition,” Thiery Kouadjo said.

For the local players, Thiery Kouadjo believes competing would improve the skills and knowledge of Ivorien players. “Ivorian players have had the satisfaction of competing in an international tournament against other countries and this confrontation has allowed them to improve their level of play. This kind of tournament would give them the needed exposure to compete against the big table tennis nations,” Thiery Kouadjo added.