Assar, Meshref rule 2019 ITTF Africa Cup
• Egyptian duo qualify for ITTF World Cup
Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Dina Meshref were crowned champions of the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup concluded at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Monday.
Assar, who is tournament’s number three seed, accounted for the host nation’s favourite son, Aruna Quadri, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3) in the semifinal before beating compatriot – Ahmed Saleh, the number two seed (10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3), the winner as far back as 2007 when the second edition of the tournament was staged in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Quadri had to settle for third place after beating Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, the number eight seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-5) in the third place play-off.
It was according to status for Meshref in the women’s singles, as the top seed had in the semi-final stage beaten Nigeria’s Offiong Edem, the no.2 seed, (11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8.
A place in the final booked, it was a family affair as Meshref beat her cousin, Yousra Helmy, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8) to claim the title.
Earlier Yousra Helmy had beaten Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci in a tense semi-final contest (11-1, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10) to reserve her place in the title decider. Offiong Edem gained third place, accounting for Fadwa Garci in five games (8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8).
Gold and silver for Egypt, personal triumphs for Assar and Meshref; it is third time Omar Assar has won the title, and for Meshref an incredible seventh. Moreover, it is six in a row.
Most significantly, in Chengdu, Omar Assar will be making his third appearance in the Men’s World Cup, he previously appeared in 2015 in Halmstad in 2017 in Liège; for Dina Meshref it will be no less than her seventh venture in the Women’s World Cup. She made her debut in 2011 in Singapore and since 2014 in Linz, she has been ever present.
The Women’s World Cup will be staged from October 18 to 20, while the Men’s World Cup will hold from November 29 to December 1.