Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna & Egypt’s Dina Meshref have emerged Champions at the 2017 ITTF-African Cup that concluded yesterday 3 July 2017 in Agadir, Morocco, to secure their places at the 2017 ITTF Men’s & Women’s World Cups later this year.
In an epic final Men’s Singles final clash, ARUNA ended the dominance of his long time rival Omar ASSAR (EGY) in a tight seven-games encounter, claiming a 4-3 (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9) victory to make his second consecutive appearance at the Men’s World Cup.
“I am so happy today that I won because it was not an easy match,” stated the elated 28-year-old. “I am happy that my backhand worked well in the match because I was afraid to use it against my friend – Omar Assar whom I know was in his best form this time. I think Omar Assar played and that I was just lucky today because sometime luck played crucial role in matches.”
The Women’s Singles final was another classic Egypt – Nigeria clash between Dina MESHREF (EGY) & Olufunke OSHIONAIKE (NGR). In the very same venue where OSHIONAIKE shocked the young Egyptian last year at the 2016 ITTF-African Championships to reclaim the African Championships title 24 years after her first, the 41-year-old was not able to repeat her success against MESHREF this time round.
The 23-year-old Egyptian was determined not to let history repeat itself, putting up an impressive performance to sweep the title 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2), leaving no chance for OSHIONAIKE to fight back in the match.
MESHREF stated after her victory “It was not an easy match and this cannot be judged by the result. The first two games were very tough and I knew that if I could win the first two games, my confidence will grow and I have the opportunity to win the match.”
“It was good winning at same venue I lost to her last year but most importantly qualifying for the ITTF Women’s World Cup, a tournament which is very special to me.”
The 2017 ITTF-African Cup staged in Agadir, Morocco from 1-3 July, is the continental qualification for the prestigious ITTF Men’s & Women’s World Cups to be held later in the year:
Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men’s World Cup – 20-22 Oct 2017, Liege (BEL)
Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup – 27-29 Oct 2017, Markham (CAN)
The ITTF World Cups are the second most prestigious events on the international table tennis calendar, with only 20 of the top table tennis players qualifying through their respective Continental Cups together with the current World Champions, one host player and a wildcard.
The next continental qualification for the ITTF World Cups will be the ITTF-Pan American Cup in San Jose (CRC) from 28-30 July 2017.
• World Champions: MA Long (CHN), DING Ning (CHN)
• 2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), Alexander SHIBAEV (RUS), Simon GAUZY (FRA), LI Jie (NED), Petrissa SOLJA (GER), Sabine WINTER (GER)
• 2017 ITTF-Oceania Cup: David POWELL (AUS), LAY Jian Fang (AUS)