Defending Champion of the ITTF Nigeria Open, Aruna Quadri with his trophy.

It is an appreciable improvement again in 2019 as Germany, Austria and 30 other countries will be represented at the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open from August 7 to 11 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Over 171 players made up of 105 men and 66 women have been confirmed for the tournament, with European teams dominating the list with 17 countries, being led by top Table Tennis playing nations – Austria, Germany and France.

Others are Belgium, Croatia, England, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Sweden.

Nigeria and Egypt will be leading the African teams, while others expected are Algeria, Benin Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.

Brazil will represent the South America continent while Asia will be represented by India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Being an improvement from the 27 countries that featured in the 2018 edition, this year’s edition is one of the pioneer tournaments of the ITTF Challenge Plus Series and it is one of the six ITTF Challenge Plus in 2019.

The Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open is the fourth of the six ITTF Challenge Plus across the globe, as the players fight for improved ranking points.

In terms of prize money, the purse of the tournament has been jerked to $60,000 with players competing in seven titles on offer: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, U-21 Men’s Singles and U-21 Women’s Singles.

According to the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Wahid Oshodi, the excitement synonymous with the tournament has continued to attract top players to Lagos.

“As usual from the entries this year, it has shown that the tournament has continued to attract some of the best players in the world. The tournament is now an ITTF Challenge Plus tournament with increased prize money of $60,000 and the all-important increased points which all the players are aiming to get in a bid for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification. This year also, with three tournaments preceding the Nigeria Open, it will be a fantastic festival of top class Table Tennis,” Oshodi said.

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the National Sports Festival and the African Athletics Championships, and has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

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