Quarterfinalist at the 2023 World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) in Durban, South Africa, Anders Lind of Denmark and third round finisher in Durban Mihai Bobocica of Italy have been listed among the players that will slug it out in the preliminary round of the WTT Contender Lagos which serves off on Monday June 12 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The WTT Contender Lagos is the first WTT Series in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the three WTT Contender events taking place in Africa this year following the successful staging of the WTT Contender Durban in South Africa while the WTT Contender Tunis will take place later this month in Tunisia.
Lind, who jumped a whopping 132 positions from World No.180 to World No.48 after a magical campaign in Durban in Week 22 of the ITTF World Rankings is one of the stars to watch out for in the preliminary stage.
The Danish who broke two of his vertebrae in a serious car accident in March 2021, defied all the odds to make his return to the pro scene and proved a force to be reckoned with in Durban, rising above challenges from Portugal’s Joao Monteiro, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan and Korea’s Jang Woojin to become the first Danish player to reach the Men’s Singles quarterfinals since Michael Maze in 2009.
Also in the fray is Italian Bobocica who is returning to Lagos after his unsatisfactory experience in 2013 when he was beaten early in the now rested Lagos Table Tennis Classics also benefited from his third-round finish in Durban, where he rose from 93 to 81 in the world rating. He will also be aiming for a place in the main draw.
Already, 48 players made up 24 men and 24 women have already been listed in the main draw based on their world rating while the eight remaining slots to complete the 32-player main draw will be contested for in the preliminary round in the men and women singles events.
Lind and Bobocica will be joined by 52 others to contest for the eight slots in the men’s singles while 35 women from 14 countries will slug it out in the preliminary round for the eight available spots in the main draw of the women singles.
Host country Nigeria has the largest number of players in the preliminary as they are hoping to join the likes of Taiwo Mati, Olajide Omotayo, Fatimo Bello and Edem Offiong in the main draw following the absence of their talisman Quadri Aruna due to club engagement.
Also, the LOC Chairman, Wahid Oshodi, believes there would be a lot of surprises in the preliminary as well as the main draw.
“On the fans’ side, expect a fantastic tournament, great things to look forward to as some of the best players in the world, with different styles include some of the exciting players in the world will compete from the preliminary round,” Oshodi said.