Assar, Meshref Win 2019 ITTF Africa Cup
Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Dina Meshref were crowned the champions of the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup concluded at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Assar, who is tournament’s no.3 seed, accounted for the host nation favourite, Aruna Quadri, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3) in the semifinal and while he had to work hard to overcome compatriot - Ahmed Saleh, the no.2 seed (10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3), the winner as far back as 1997 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 no.8 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 beat 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, for Meshref and incredible seventh. Moreover, it is six in a row.