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Omotayo, Edem punch Paris 2024 Olympics ticket

Omotayo, Edem punch Paris 2024 Olympics ticket

Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo and Offiong Edem secured their spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after impressive performances at the African Qualification Tournament taking place at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

Omotayo had an easy passage to Paris after a dominant 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 appearance at the Olympic Games after his maiden outing at Tokyo 2020.

Edem, on the other hand, was the first to qualify for Paris 2024 after a pulsating 4-3 win over Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci in the semifinal of the continental qualification championships.

The experienced Edem, who will be attending her fifth Olympic Games after featuring at Athens 2004, London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020, had to raise her game to beat the Tunisian in an energy-sapping encounter at 11-9, 8-11, 11-13, 11-1, 11-8, and 11-6.

Cameroon’s Sarah Hannfou and Fabio Rakotoarimanana of Madagascar also secured their spots in Paris after reaching the finals of the qualification tournament.

Hannfou joined the league of players heading to Paris after another action-packed tie against Nigeria’s Fatimo Bello. The two-time Olympian lost the first game 1-11 but restored parity in the second game with an 11-9 win. She continued her dominance with 11-5 and 11-9 wins to take a 3-1 lead. Despite Bello’s attempt to make a comeback, Hanffou sealed her place in Paris with an 11-7 win to complete a 4-2 triumph (1-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7) in the women’s singles.

Meanwhile, Rakotoarimanana made history in Kigali as he became the first Madagascan to qualify for the Olympic Games by beating Tunisia’s Wassim Essid 4-3 (13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9) in the second semifinal of the men’s singles at the qualifiers.

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

Over 50 players from 15 countries competed at the three-day qualification tournament hosted by the Rwanda Table Tennis Federation (RTTF). RTTF President John Birungi expressed satisfaction with hosting the Olympic qualification for the first time, acknowledging the support of the Rwandan government.

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