Nigerian table tennis teenagers, Usman Okanlawon and Sadiat Akeem are facing stiff competition from some of Africa’s best age-grade players, as they seek points to gain spots at the 2019 ITTF World Hope Challenge.
The Hope Challenge will hold in Muscat, Oman from July 25th to 31st, but the spots available to Africa are only for two boys and two girls, thus leaving Okanlawon and Akeem facing a steep hill at the qualifiers in DR Congo this week.
Both players from Oyo State, who are being coached by Idiat Aderibigbe, qualified for the 2019 ITTF/Africa Hopes Challenge holding in Kinshasa from the West Africa elimination event earlier this year in Accra, Ghana.
Okanlawon and Akeem will battle players from Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi at the African qualifiers in Kinshasa, which will be coordinated by African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) development manager, Ramzi B.H Mabrouk, who will be assisted by a coach, Eva Jeler.
During the week-long activities, which will include issues of education, Akeem will do battle in the girls under-12 along side Hirwa Kelia Chantal of Rwanda, Yakin Gateka of Burundi as well as Ashraf Shahata Hagar of Egypt.
On his part, Okanlawon will be involved in the boys’ under-12 contest with Yassine Yasser of Egypt, Elie Malola of DR Congo and Juma Wabugoya of Uganda.