The performance of African players at the 2019 ITTF World Championships in Budapest has attracted accolades and encouragement from the continental ruling body.

From the President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the players gave their best and they have displayed exceptional skills as the continent’s ambassadors.

“Some African players did quite well especially Aruna Quadri (NGR) who was the last male player on track by reaching the round of 32, also Dina Meshref (EGY) who also made it to the round of 64 in singles while her doubles’ pairing with Yousra Helmy reached the last 32 of the event. I think they all tried their best and lost in some very tough matches,” the ATTF boss said.

For African players to excel at big stage, Khaled El-Salhy said: “Medal in this kind event is very difficult due to the big competition from China with five players as well as strong teams like Japan, Germany, Koreas, and others, but maybe they should look to medals in World Cup and World title events. Players must also work hard to be able to advance in this kind of competition and this will surely help their World Ranking, and also for the national associations to prepare the players while Africa countries should also be looking forward in in hosting similar WTTC in the near future.”

For the Vice President, Western African Region, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, the African players need to raise their game at big party like the world championships.

Oshodi said: “The performance of the African players has been quite fair. We were hoping for better results but they have had to contend with difficult draws and players recovering from injuries. The performances need to improve so we can challenge the top Asian and European players. But apart from this, I must commend Aruna Quadri who is still recovering from a hamstring injury but worked hard in getting to the round of 32 before going out in a closely contested match against the overwhelming favourite and World No 1 Fan Zhen Dong. It was a great performance. The young Nigerian former Junior Champion Ajoke Ojomu also showed great promise in her first world championship. She showed all the qualities needed to play at this level. Now she must add more hard work to her undoubted talent. The African female champion Dina Meshref also played well.”

The former President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) said for African players to medal in global tournaments, there must conscious efforts by coaches to acquaint themselves with modern techniques in the sports.

“We must get our players playing more regularly against the best players in the world. Our coaches need to learn the latest techniques. We need more exposure for them and for the players. We need to get our players on the World Tour Circuit. This means money and they need more sponsorship and funding. We have all witnessed the vast improvements made by Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo and Omar Assar since they started playing regularly on the tour. You play against the best in the world and learn from them. The support Aruna Quadri has received from Baba Ijebu Bet has helped him in no small way to ensure he attends tournaments and pay for the extra coaching that is needed at this level. Others need to emulate this,” Oshodi said.