Rwanda has been confirmed as the host nation of the 2024 Olympics Qualification for singles and Africa Cup.
The announcement was made during the annual general meeting (AGM) of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) held last week in Tunis during the 26th ITTF African Championships.
Rwanda received massive support from the delegates while Tunisia withdrew its bid to support the candidacy of the East African nation as the host of the two prestigious tournaments in the calendar of ATTF in 2024.
This will be the first time that Rwanda will be hosting major table tennis tournaments in the world which are expected to attract the best players in Africa.
According to Khaled El-Salhy, the President of ATTF, the support that the delegates showed Rwanda is a confirmation of the confidence the continent has in the Rwandan Table Tennis Federation (RTTF).
“There is no doubt that Rwanda has been one of the active federations in the region and in Africa with several development programmes put together and hosting the best players in Africa showed that the delegates across Africa believe in the capacity of RTTF to host the prestigious events in 2024,” El-Salhy said during the meeting.
“We all know the significance of the Olympic Games qualification, and the Africa Cup is also one of our annual premier tournaments where all the best players in Africa compete. I am looking forward to the event and we are going to support them technically in readiness for the tournaments in 2024.”
An excited John Birungi, the President of RTTF, described the gesture as a plus to the progress made by his federation in the last five years.
“This is the first time that Rwanda will host a continental table tennis event. Even more notable is the significance of the tournament given that it’s an Olympic qualifier. It means a lot for the federation and the country,” Birungi said.
“We get to watch the best players on the continent and our team gets to participate and get a chance for qualification. It also means that it creates a precedent for Rwanda to host other big table tennis tournaments and one could even dream of hosting the world championships one day.”
“We are expected to have a successful event and we have sought support from our Ministry and the Rwanda Convention Bureau to ensure that this happens,” he added.
To host both tournaments at every participant’s satisfaction, Birungi said his federation expects to build capacity and experience in organization, umpiring and refereeing, and more importantly for Rwandan young players to get a chance to compete with the best of the best in Africa.
“Between now and May 2024 when the event will take place, we are targeting to have several training camps to support our national team to prepare effectively,” he said.
The local Table Tennis Federation hopes to get assistance from the ATTF in terms of professional tournament equipment, tools, and guidelines so as to organize a good and successful event.
“What we have seen in Tunis has been an outstanding display with live streaming of games and real time live scoring in and around the playing arena. We expect no less in Kigali and this is in addition to the magnificent facilities we already have in Rwanda,” the RTTF chief said.