Li Ping represented his country of birth – China, in 2009 and his partnership with compatriot Cao Zhen claimed the mixed doubles title at the World Championships in Japan. Now he has changed nationality to Qatar and since switching to the gulf nation, Li Ping has won some ITTF Tours and now he will be visiting Africa for the first time to feature in the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open tagged Lagos 2017 from August 9 to 13. The table tennis competition will hold at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
The Qatari has said he looks forward to touching down in Lagos as he expects exciting fireworks in Lagos considering the quality of players listed for the five-day $46,000 prize money tournament.
He told ITTF media, “I expect the 2017 ITTF Nigeria Open to live up to its billing as one of the topmost tournaments on the ITTF Challenge Series. The quality of the players is quite strong this year and I look forward to some ‘firecrackers’ of skills and talents during the competition.
“This is my first trip to Africa and I’m happy to visit Nigeria as my first port of call on the continent. Nigeria has produced some great talents in table tennis and the country has a rich history when it comes to table tennis. I’m expecting to have a great time during the visit and to enjoy the tournament as much as possible.”
Li Ping then added, “The quality of the field as well as the opportunity to play in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, was what attracted me to this year’s Nigeria Open. One of Nigeria’s finest players, Aruna (Quadri), has played at the Qatar Open many times and I have great respect for him. I would like to play him on his own turf as well and I will appreciate the opportunity of us meeting during the competition.”
“This year’s tournament parades a very strong field which is an indication of the interest it has generated across the world. I believe there has been a remarkable improvement and I think the tournament is going to keep improving yearly. Like I said earlier, Nigeria has produced so many great talents – Atanda Musa, Aruna Quadri, Segun Toriola, Bose Kaffo and others. Table tennis is very popular in Nigeria and I am glad to play there.”
Li Ping hopes to win the tournament.