Nigeria as the only African country, will be making another attempt at qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as the West African nation battles 33 others in the men’s category and 29 teams in the women’s event at the 2020 World Team Olympic Qualifying tournament holding in Gondomar, Portugal, from January 22 to 26.

From the men and women events, 18 nations made up of nine men’s teams and nine women, are expected to pick their slots to Tokyo 2020 from the Portugal showdown.

According to the playing format, the matches will be in knockouts stages with the first stage made up of a knockout of 64. The eight teams, which make it to the quarterfinals will qualify to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while the quarterfinals, semifinals and final matches will not be played.

The ninth and final qualification place for both Men’s and Women’s teams will be determined via a second knockout stage between teams losing in the Round of 16 of the first stage. The matches are best of five individual matches consisting of a doubles and four singles.

Also, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed the five-man contingent of Nigeria’s men’s team made up of Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo, Segun Toriola, Bode Abiodun and junior sensation, Taiwo Mati.

The women will be represented by Edem Offiong, Olufunke Oshonaike, Fatimo Bello, Ajoke Ojomu and Cecilia Akpan.

The tournament will give Nigeria another avenue to qualify for Tokyo 2020 after missing the continental sole slot to Egypt at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.

The Multiusos de Gondomar in Portugal will host the tournament with nine teams (men and women) qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and will subsequently be entitled to confirm two athletes to take part in the Singles events.

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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 African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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