Third Youth Olympic Games qualifiers to begin April 16
The scramble for a spot in next year’s third Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for African teams will take place in Tunis on April 16 and 17, which is immediately after the African Junior and Cadet Championships.
According to the President, ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy, the continent is aiming for the podium again after Tunisia’s Adem Hmam became the first table tennis player from the continent to win a medal with a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event.
“Africa was on the podium at the first YOG that was held in 2010 in Singapore (by the bronze medal of Adem Hmam in the mixed doubles), thus such event is very important to us and gives much promotion to our top junior players. For the Youth Games next year, Africa has four spots made up of two boys and two girls and for the qualification, each African Association is entitled to take part with one boy and a girl. Such player must be born on or after 2000 as the qualified players should be 18 by next year in Buenos Aires (i.e. in Tunisia, the qualification tournament the player will be 17),” ITTF boss said.
He explained that the qualifiers is open to all African national associations, adding, however: “Each national association is to select only one boy and one girl, while the two qualified boys will be from two different countries, and the same for girls as well.
“There will be final two boys and two girls qualifying for YOG, then Africa will have two mixed teams plus the single events, in case a country will be qualified with one boy and one girl, then they will be together as the first mixed team, while in case the four qualified players will come from four different associations, then we will arrange with their NOCs to combine them into two mixed teams in the name of Africa one & Africa two,” he added.
On the format of play, Khaled El-Salhy said: “The players will be divided into groups with maximum of five players per group to play round robin for classification. The top two players in each group to play in the knockout stage for final positions, while the finalists will qualify directly to Buenos Aires as the continent’s representatives.”