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Fatimo Bello eyes maiden Olympics qualification in Kigali

Fatimo Bello eyes maiden Olympics qualification in Kigali

Fatimo Bello, the Nigerian table tennis star, has her sights set on securing her maiden Olympics ticket at the African Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Lagos State-born athlete believes this is her chance to join the league of elite players heading to Paris in July.

“It has not been easy since 2022, but I am still a work in progress with the hope that I will get back to my form. My African Games experience was not impressive at all, and I have that behind me with the hope that I can re-enact my form in Kigali,” Bello said.

Bello shot to international limelight in 2022 when she defied all odds to reach the final of the African Cup, where she eventually lost to Egypt’s Hana Goda. This performance contributed immensely to her world ranking fortunes; she became the third-best player in Africa and the highest-ranked Nigerian female player in the world.

After the 2022 feat, Bello moved to Italy to continue her professional career. However, her inability to repeat her 2022 success in 2023 affected her ranking, and she dropped down the pecking order in Africa.

The three-time Nigerian national champion admitted that she expects tough challenges from other players but remains poised to fight for one of the three tickets at stake.

“It is not going to be an easy ride in Kigali because everybody is targeting a place at the Olympic Games, and I will be glad to become one of the new generation of players to compete at the Olympic Games,” she added.

Bello will be joined by Offiong Edem in the women’s category of the Olympic Qualifiers on May 16 to 18, while Quadri Aruna and Olajide Omotayo will compete in the men’s category, as the three top players will secure automatic tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France.

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