BK Arena in Kigali Hosts African Olympic Qualifier: Table Tennis Showdown

East Africa’s BK Arena to Host Thrilling African Olympic Qualifier in Kigali

On May 16-18, the largest indoor arena in East Africa, BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, will host the highly anticipated African Olympic Qualification Tournament. This event will feature top table tennis players from 15 countries across the continent, all vying for the chance to secure a spot at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The tournament promises to be a spectacle of thrilling action, as six players – three men and three women – are expected to earn their tickets to the Olympics. Based on the captivating performances witnessed at the recent 2024 ITTF Africa Cup, the upcoming qualifier is set to be an explosive and exciting affair.

A total of 26 men and 24 women from Algeria, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tunisia, Uganda, and host Rwanda will compete in this historic event, which marks the first time Rwanda will host an international tournament of this magnitude.

Leading the charge are Nigeria’s top seeds, Olajide Omotayo and Offiong Edem. Omotayo, the 2019 African Games champion, will face stiff competition from rising stars like Tunisia’s Wassim Essid, Cameroon’s Ylane Batix, Madagascar’s Fabio Rakotoarimanana, and the experienced Saheed Idowu from Congo Brazzaville, as he aims for his second Olympic appearance after making his debut at Tokyo 2020.

Edem, a bronze medalist at the 2023 African Games, is targeting her fifth Olympic appearance after competing in Athens 2004, London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020. The 37-year-old former African Games champion will need to fend off challenges from Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou, the 2010 African Champion, as well as younger talents from Tunisia, Madagascar, and Mauritius.

The competition will unfold in three stages, with the preliminary groups, a direct knockout system, and a final stage that will determine the three qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Matches in Stage 1 will be best of five games, while Stages 2 and 3 will be best of seven games.

As the continent’s top table tennis players converge in Kigali, the spotlight will be firmly on the BK Arena, where the battle to join the flight to Paris begins on Thursday, May 16. Stay tuned for more updates on this thrilling African Olympic Qualification Tournament.

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