Egypt defeats Nigeria to retain team events’ titles
EGYPT beat Nigeria at the weekend to retain the Men’s and Women’s team titles at the 2015 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Cairo, Egypt.
Egypt is the top seeds in both the Men’s and Women’s teams event, while Nigeria is the second seeds. But the champions 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. But the 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.
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 gave Egypt a two-match to one lead when proving too secure and too experienced for Jide Ogidiolu.
Quadri Aruna returned to the table to overcome 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 17th African 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 today 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.