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Quadri, Assar rekindle rivalry as ATF names Top 16 Cup gladiators


Aruna Quadri (left) will try to dethrone Omar Assar at the ATF Top 16 Cup in Tunisia… later this month.

The table tennis continental ruling body, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), has named the 32 contestants that will battle for honours at the 2020 Top 16 Cup holding in Tunis later this month.

The three-day tournament serves as qualifiers for the 2020 ITTF World Cup held in Germany and China later in the year.

According to the list released by ATTF, Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref will be defending their titles in the men and women singles events against top contenders and regional champions in Africa.

In the men’s singles, Omar Assar will slug it out with regional champions like Algeria’s Sami Kherouf (North), Cote d’Ivoire’s Oba Oba Kizito (West), Congo DRC’s Gedeon Kassa (Central), Kenya’s Brian Mutua (East), and South Africa’s Shane Overmeyer (South).

Other top players expected to battle for the sole slot in the men’s singles are Algeria’s Larbi Bouriah, Benin Republic’s Monday Olabiyi, Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu, Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw, Togo’s Kokou Dodji Fanny, Tunisia’s Adam Hmam, Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo and Aruna Quadri, as well as South Africa’s Theo Cogill.

Dina Meshref will contend with regional champions like Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci (North), Congo DRC’s Flavia Kimbu (Central), Ethiopia’s Marta Gulti (East), South Africa’s Musfiquh Kalam (South) and Nigeria’s Fatimo Bello (West).

Others that made the list of participants based on their continental ranking include Algeria’s Katia Kessaci, Botswana’s Tshepiso Rebatenne, Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou, Egypt’s Yousra Helmy, Mauritius’ Nandeshwaree  Jalim, Nigeria’s Offiong Edem, South Africa’s Simeen Mookrey, Tunisia’s Safa Saidani, Seychelles’ Christy Bristol, and Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi.

ATF President, Khaled El-Salhy, believes the competitiveness of this year’s tournament would make the championship exciting.

“I am so happy to have such a competitive atmosphere that the winners cannot be known until the end of the final match, and also that gives Africa the chance to get more than one qualifier for ITTF World Cup, as we did it twice in men in 2017 and 2019.

“We are also to give the tournament the needed coverage as the matches would be stream live,” El-Salhy said.

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