Table tennis: Eight Rwandans set for African Championships

Deborah Ikirezi is one of the four players comprising the Rwandan female team at the African Table Tennis Championships in Mauritius. File photo.

A team of eight national table tennis players will represent Rwanda at the forthcoming 2018 African Championships scheduled for September 3-9 in Mauritius.

According to the local Table Tennis governing body, the team is composed of four men and four women, and will be departing for Mauritius Saturday.

The male quartet includes Patrick Masengesho, Jean Irakiza, Devoir de Dieu Muyisenge, and Regis Ishimwe while their female counterparts are; Hervine Tumukunde, Deborah Ikirezi, Console Umutoni and Kelia Chantal Hirwa.

The team will be under the leadership of Yves Ndizeye as head coach.

The Mauritius championship will also serve as the qualifiers for next World Cup to be held in November 2019 in Tokyo, a test event for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 in Japan.

A record 22 teams are to compete in the games, according to Mauritius table tennis federation.

The teams include hosts Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Gabon, Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroun, Somalia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Madagascar, Togo, Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Djibouti, Comoros, Libya, DR Congo and Eritrea.

For Rwanda to stand chance for medals, they will have to overcome some of Africa’s giants such as Egypt who won the 2017 African Youth and Junior Championships in Tunisia.

Meanwhile, the 2019 African Table Tennis Championship, to be staged in Morocco, will serve as the African qualifiers for Tokyo 2020.

In November this year, Rwanda Table Tennis Federation (RTTF) plans to host the first ever East Africa Table Tennis Championship. It is expected to attract around 14 countries.

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