Egyptian duo, Omar Assar and Dina Meshref have emerged as champions of the 2019 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF ) Africa Cup held in Lagos.
Assar defeated fellow countryman Saleh Ahmed in the men’s singles final by 10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9, 11-3.
In the women’s single, Dina also defeated her fellow country counterpart, Helmy Yousra 11-9, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8.
On Assar’s way to win the tournament, he defeated Africa’s Number one, Aruna Quadri 6-11, 8-11, 11-3, 7-11, 3-11 in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, Quadri beat Kherouf Sami from Algeria 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 to scoop the competition’s bronze prize
In the women’s singles, Edem Offiong of Nigeria saw off Garci Fadwa from Tunisia 8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8 in a keenly-contested match to claim the third position.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES after his triumph, Assar admitted that he thought he would finish behind Aruna.
“I’m very happy to perform very well here. It was not my expectation to win the title because Aruna Quadri is the favourite before I came here. He played fantastic during quarter-final,” Assar said.
Reacting to his none participation in the Nigerian Open, the Egyptian said he needs to rest and cannot play three major tournaments in less than two weeks.
“I would like to take a break, I can’t play three major tournaments in a row, it is always happy to play against your teammates, he has the experience and exposure, it is very good that Egyptian table tennis is at a high level,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Africa’s number one in the female category, Dina, said that training in international camps helped her to compete with top players in the world.
“It wasn’t that easy to win a tournament, it was very close. It was a regular international training camp that helped me because I want to compete with top players.
“I hope to try my best because I have played six times in the world cup with a better experience,” Dina said.
With the Africa Cup now over, the ITTF Nigerian Open challenge plus will serve off on August 7 at the Molade Thomas Okoya Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.