Toriola to lead Nigeria team to ITTF WTTC in Korea

 Table tennis legend Segun Toriola will lead Nigeria’s contingent to the 2024 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) in Busan, South Korea, from Feb. 16 to Feb. 25, the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), says.

The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) says Toriola is picked based on his wealth of experience coupled with his cordial relationships with most of the top players in the national team.

In a statement issued to that effect, NTTF noted that with the retirement of the former national coach Nosiru Sule last year, Toriola has become the best option for the federation as the best hand to handle the teams to the WTTC.

It said Toriola’s name is synonymous with Nigerian and African table tennis having won numerous African titles and appearing in seven Olympic Games, Toriola has been influential in Africa while he is respected globally.

At the Busan 2024 WTTC, the Nigerian men’s team has been drawn against Japan, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic and Madagascar in Group 5 as the eight groups of five countries in each group.

The Nigerian men’s team will be aiming to advance to the knockout rounds.

“Egypt, the African champions, will battle against Portugal, Romania, Iran and Thailand in Group 8, while Algeria will face France, Australia, Denmark and Austria.

“In the women’s category, the Nigerian team is also grouped against Germany, Slovakia, Poland and Mexico, while the Egyptian ladies slug it out against European teams — France, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Croatia in Group 8.

“Algeria’s women face the massive task of battling Chinese Taipei, U.S., Thailand and Chile in their group.

“The South African women’s team is pitted against Japan, Brazil, Luxembourg, and Iran in Group 2 of the women’s event.

China, the defending WTTC champions, occupy the top-seeded positions in both the men’s and women’s team events as the country’s ladies are placed in Group 1 with Hungary, India, Spain and Uzbekistan.

The statement states that each group will play a round-robin, with each team facing off against the other four teams in their group.

After the round-robin, the top three teams from each group advance to the knockout phase.

The top eight from the tournament get automatic tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

According to ITTF, the Nigerian delegation hopes for improved performance and a chance to clinch the Olympic tickets for both men’s and women’s events.

It says that in 2023, Nigeria missed out on the continent’s sole ticket to the Games after losing the finals of both gender categories to Egypt at the African Championships in Tunis. (NAN)


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