Cairo, Jan 26, 2015: Egypt retained the Men’s and Women’s Team titles by emerging successful on the evening of Sunday 25th January at the 2015 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Cairo, Egypt.
The top seeds in both the Men’s and Women’s teams event, Egypt accounted for Nigeria, the second seeds, to claim the titles. However, they were stretched to the very limit, winning both matches by the slightest margins, three games to two.
In the Women’s Team event, it was a memorable recovery that secured the victory.
Nigeria made the ideal start with Offiong EDEM beating Nadeen EL-DAWLATLY and Olufunke OSHONAIKE accounting for Dina MESHREF. 19 year old Yousra HELMY came to rescue, as she beat Cecilia OFFIONG to spark the fight-back.
A ray of hope for the host nation, Dina MESHREF returned to form to impart the one and only defeat in the whole event over Offiong EDEM, before Nadeen EL-DAWLATLY accounted for Olunfunke OSHONAIKE to complete the recovery and secure the team’s 11thChampionships title.
After the victory, Nadeen EL-DAWLATLYstated: “The win was special because I have never beaten Funke OSHONIAKE before. In the first match against Offiong EDEM, I was a bit nervous and I knew we might likely meet again, so I just played my game. I can believe that we could come back and this victory was indeed very special for us as a team.”
Meanwhile, in the Men’s Team final, the hero of the hour for Egypt was El-Sayed LASHIN.
Having suffered defeat against the ITTF Male Table Tennis Star Quadri ARUNA in the opening match of the fixture, he beat Ojo ONAOLAPO to seal the victory.
Earlier, Omar ASSAR had leveled matters for Egypt by beating Ojo ONAOLAPO before Ahmed ALI SALEH had given Egypt a two matches to one lead when proving too secure and too experienced for Jide OGIDIOLU.
Quadri ARUNA returned to the table, he overcame Omar ASSAR to level the match and thus set the stage for the decisive duel between El-Sayed LASHIN and Ojo ONAOLAPO, which made history for the 2013 World Team Cup bronze medalists Egypt.
The victory was Ahmed ALI SALEH’s 17thAfrican gold medal, which is a record. After the match, the African legend stated: “I felt very happy winning my 17th gold medals in African tournament and excited that we won the title again in Cairo after the triumph in 2012. It was fantastic for the team, and for me winning 17 medals is great.”
The ITTF-African Championships continues on Tuesday 27 January, with the Mixed Doubles, Women’s and Men’s Doubles and the Women’s and Men’s Singles titles up for grabs over the next four days in Cairo, Egypt. —- ITTF
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