• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Paris 2024 Olympics qualification thrills Omotayo, Edem

Omotayo-Edem

The duo of Nigerian table tennis stars, Offiong Edem and Olajide Omotayo, are elated after securing their places to represent Nigeria at Paris 2024 Olympics.

Both players clinched their Olympic spots on Friday by reaching the finals of the African Qualification Tournament held at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

Edem was the first to qualify, after an intense 4-3 victory over Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci in the semifinals of the continental qualification championships.

The Nigerian table tennis star who will be making her fifth Olympic appearance after competing in Athens 2004, London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020, had to elevate her performance to win the match with scores of 11-9, 8-11, 11-13, 11-1, 11-8, and 11-6.

Expressing her joy, Edem took to Facebook to share her excitement, writing: “THANK GOD WE MADE IT…SEE YOU IN PARIS 5 TIMES OLYMPIAN BLESSED…”

In the men’s singles, Omotayo had a smoother path to qualification with a commanding 4-0 (11-6, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7) win over Saheed Idowu of Congo Brazzaville.

The 2019 African Games champion and tournament’s top seed will be making his second Olympic appearance, following his debut at Tokyo 2020.

Encouraged by Edem’s success, Omotayo celebrated his qualification on Facebook with a post saying, “I believed,” accompanied by a video of his winning stroke.

In total, four players from Nigeria, Cameroon, and Madagascar secured their spots at the Paris Games by reaching the finals of the African Qualification Tournament.

The remaining two slots for the continent will be contested by 12 players who advanced to the quarterfinals of the first stage of qualification on Saturday, May 18.

The three-day qualification tournament, hosted by the Rwanda Table Tennis Federation (RTTF), saw over 50 players from 15 countries compete for their chance to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics.