Egypt proves dominance on home soil at ITTF-African Championships

Egypt, Jan 30, 2015: Egypt proved their dominance as the African table tennis powerhouse at the 2015 ITTF-African Championships, which concluded today in Cairo, Egypt.

The host nation claimed five out of the seven gold medals on offer: Men’s Team, Women’s Team, Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

In Women’s Singles, Dina MESHREF (EGY) avenged for her teammate Nadeen EL-DAWLATLY by defeating the defending champion HAN Xing (CGO) 4-2 (11-7, 3-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5) at the final hurdle, to win Egypt’s fourth Women’s Singles title in history, and the first in over a decade.

After the victory, the 21 year old shared her joy of claiming her maiden ITTF-African Championships Singles title: “I am very happy winning this title because it is really not easy to win especially against the Chinese-born Congolese. It is especially meaningful for me to win it in Egypt in front of my fans and my compatriots!”

The Men’s Singles finals match was a battle between Egypt’s top players after sensationally the hot favourite and the 2014 ITTF Male Table Tennis Star Quadri ARUNA (NGR) was knocked out in the quarter finals. 2011 All Africa Games champion Omar ASSAR overcame his experienced compatriot Ahmed SALEH in 4 straight games (11-6, 11-9, 14-12, 11-8), stopping SALEH from claiming his 18th ITTF-African Championships title.

The 23 year old stated, “I did not expect the game to have the way it went because Ahmed SALEH was playing good before the final. I was so lucky to have won and I am happy winning this title.”

“It is a very great feeling for me, I won the African Championships Singles title for the first time and it was a big dream for me since I was a child. I started table tennis in a small club here in Egypt and then moved to a bigger club and I watched Ahmed SALEH and Sayed LASHIN playing and I didn’t imagine that I am going to play against them in the final; it was a great day here in Cairo.” added the newly crowned champion.

In the Mixed Doubles event, the singles champions ASSAR and MESHREF teamed to successfully defend their title. They came back from 0-2 to account for Congo Brazzaville’s HAN Xing and Suraju SAKA in 6 games (6-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7).

In the Men’s Double & Women’s Doubles gold medal matches, rising powers Congo Brazzaville and Nigeria prevented Egypt from sweeping all 7 gold medals on offer. The high spirited pair of HAN Xing & Onyinyechi NWACHUKWA (CGO) were able to calm their nerves against the young Egyptian duo of Dina MESHREF and Nadeen EL-DAWLATLY, winning 4-2 (11-9, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7, 3-11. 14-12).

The Nigerians posed big threats to the Egyptians on their way to gold at the 2015 ITTF-African Championships. The Nigerians dominated the Men’s Doubles scene, world number 30, Quadri ARUNA, together with colleague Makanjuola KAZEEM (NGR) stood victorious after overcoming compatriots Ojo ONAOLAPO and Jide OGIDIOLU in 6 games, with the slightest margins (11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10).

Gold Medalists:
• Men’s Team: Egypt
• Women’s Team: Egypt
• Men’s Singles: Omar ASSAR (EGY)
• Women’s Singles: Dina MESHREF (EGY)
• Men’s Doubles: Makanjuola KAZEEM / Quadri ARUNA (NGR)
• Women’s Doubles: HAN Xing / Onyinyechi NWACHUKWU (CGO)
• Mixed Doubles: Omar ASSAR / Dina MESHREF (EGY). —- ITTF

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