Africa’s representatives at the 2017 ITTF World Cup, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Omar Assar have been drawn in Group A and C of the three-day tournament holding in Liege, Belgium.
The tournament which has the best 20 players drawn across the world through qualifiers will on Friday October 20, at the Country Hall in Liege begin hostilities at the third most prestigious tournaments in the ITTF Calendar.
African Cup champion, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri will battle South Korea’s Lee Sangsu and United States’ Kanak Jha for a place in the main draw while Egypt’s Assar drawn in Group C will contend against host player – Belgium’s Cedric Nuytinck and Russia’s Alexander Shibaev.
12 of the 20 players have been drawn into four groups of three each with the two top players in each group progressing to the main draw where they are expected to be drawn against the eight seeded players including world and Olympic champion, China’s Ma Long and former world number one, Germany’s Timo Boll.
At the draw conducted on Wednesday, Quadri first group match will be against the Korean while Assar’s first match will be against the Belgian who will also be relying on home support against his opponents.
A determined Ma Long, who won the tournament in 2015, said that he is eagerly looking forward to the tournament which has most of the best players in the world.
“After my first visit to Belgium in 2008, I am happy returning and I am looking forward to a good performance after my last outing at the Chinese National Games. I feel challenged in all competition particularly with the presence of young players coming through from China and that is what makes the Chinese team very strong. I am ready for the challenge and I am ready to adapt to it and take each match as they come,” Ma Long said.