*Over 100 players sought for space in the main draws
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
When the coast is clear, the pretenders are always separated from contenders. This is where we are as the top seeds enter the fray today in the main draw of singles event of the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open holding at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.
Over 100 players competed in the preliminary round with the intention of making it to the main draw and at the end of the second day, 32 men and 16 women will be joining the seeded players in the main draw (round of 64 in men and round of 32 in the women).
Fans will have a swell and exciting time on Friday August 11 as the top seeds begin their campaigns in their aim to share from the $46,000 prize money at stake at the five-day championships.
Home favourite – Aruna Quadri; two-time champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar; defending champion, Finland’s Benedek Olah as well as 2009 mixed doubles world champion, Qatar’s Li Ping will all take to the table in their quest for the top prize.
Also in race for the title is France’s Antoine Hachard while in the women’s event, defending champion, Portugal’s Jieni Shao as well as 2016 runner’s up, Hungary’s Zsandra Pergel. African champion, Egypt’s Dina Meshref is also in the race for the title this year.
Also, the LOC is expecting a large turnout of fans today as the last two days witnessed huge presence of Lagosians who have been supporting the players in all their matches.
The main draw of the doubles event is expected to take centre stage with all year on Aruna Quadri and Omar Assar who will be partnering in the event.