The three-man Team Nigeria for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) qualifiers arrived yesterday in Tunis in readiness for the qualifying tournament holding at the Sports Palace El-Mensah.
The team led by coach Dotun Omoniyi alongside Azeez Solanke and Tosin Esther Oribamise will join their counterparts from 15 countries to fight for the four slots available for Africa at next year’s YOG in Argentina.
Already, Solanke has been seeded number two behind Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz in the boys event while Oribamise is seeded number three in the girls’ division.
According to Solanke, he hopes to compensate for their missing of the ITTF African Junior Championship by securing one of the two slots at stake in the boys’ category.
“It was painful missing the opportunity for us to compete at the World Championship again this year after the experience we had in 2016 in South Africa. Psychologically, it took a lot from all of us because we have been in camp for weeks only to be told few days to our planned departure that we will not be going again. I am so happy that we still have the chance to prove ourselves with the YOG qualifiers, we will surely try our best in order to ensure we compete globally next year,” Solanke said.
For Oribamise, the team would remain grateful to the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for giving them another opportunity at making a shot at global competition, while hoping that she could pick of the two slots for YOG.
Meanwhile, the draws for the YOG qualifiers hold today April 15 with the players drawn into groups in a round robin format with the top players advancing to the knockout stage while the finalists will automatically qualify for YOG in Argentina come 2018.