The African singles quotas were decided today at the 2020 African Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Tournament. Four male and four female quotas were up for grabs to compete in the singles events. The African Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Tournament is currently being held in Tunis, Tunisia from February 27th to February 29th 2020.
The women competed in two group stages where the top two in the second stage qualified to the Olympics. The first stage contained four groups. 2019 African Games bronze medalist Offiong Edem of Nigeria won the first group without dropping a set. This feat was also accomplished in the fourth group by Tunisia’s Fadwa Garcia. Advancing in second place in those groups were Mauritius’ Nandeshwaree Jalim and Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi respectively. The other two groups were won by 2019 African Games silver medalist Sarah Hanffou of Cameroon and Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike while Tunisia’s Abir Haj Salah and Ethiopia’s Marta Gulti finished second in the respective groups.
Nigeria topped both groups and a spot at the Olympics in the second round with Edem winning Group A and Oshonaike winning Group B. Joining them are Garcia and Hanffou who finished second in their respective groups.
On the men’s side, the format contained a group stage where the top two players of the eight groups advanced to a single elimination match. The eight winners were then placed into two groups where the top two qualified to the Olympics. The winners of the eight groups were Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw, Republic of Congo’s Saheed Idowu, Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, Togo’s Kokou Fanny, Tunisia’s Adam Hmam and Tunisia’s Kerem Ben Yahia. Advancing alongside them were Republic of Congo’s Christ Bienatiki, Ghana’s Derek Abrefa, Cote d’Ivoire’s Oba Kizito Oba, Ghana’s Emmanuel Commey, Libya’s Habeb Alajaebi, Algeria’s Larbi Bouriah, Madagascar’s Stephen Ravonison and Madagascar’s Jonathan Nativel.
The elimination round saw two seeding upsets where Bouriah defeated Idowu 4-2 and Oba won over Kherouf 4-1. The other matches saw Aruna, Fanny, Hmam, Diaw, Ben Yahia and Omotayo win over Ravonison (4-0), Abrefa (4-2), Nativel (4-2), Commey (4-0), Bienatiki (4-2) and Alajaebi (4-0) respectively to advance to the second group stage.
The second group stage saw Diaw and Omotayo go undefeated to win their respective groups and book a spot to the Olympics. Thanks to a walkover against an injured Aruna, Hmam finished second in Group A while Bouriah finished second in Group B to also qualify to the Olympics.
Unqualified athletes will have more opportunities to qualify via the final qualification tournament and through the world rankings. Tomorrow will decide the Olympic quota for mixed doubles.