Men’s table tennis top seed in Africa, Quadri Aruna, lived up to his ranking by winning the singles title at the 2018 ITTF Africa Championship while Egyptian Dina Meshref claimed the title in the women’s event.
Aruna was a class act in the singles tournament in Mauritius as he finished the men’s event almost flawless.
In Sunday’s singles final against Egyptian opponent, Ahmed Ali Saleh, the Nigerian was in no mood to spare a breather for his contender. Aruna cruised to a comfortable (11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-1) win over Saleh.
Aruna’s title win is the first for Nigeria in more than a decade since Segun Toriola who reached the semi-finals this time won in Bizerte in 2002 in an all-Nigerian men’s singles final. Nigeria also had Olajide Omotayo in the semis though he lost to Aruna.
For the losing finalist, Saleh, it was a fifth appearance in the men’s singles final in which he has won three titles — the most by any male player on the continent.
2018 a year to remember for Aruna
However for Aruna this will be a year to remember as the success in Mauritius comes just a month after winning the ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open in Lagos.
The top seed on the continent also helped Nigeria’s men qualify for the ITTF World Team Cup scheduled for Tokyo, Japan next year.
Meshref stays true to family tradition
In the women’s event, Meshref was unstoppable. From the moment she saw off Nigeria’s Offiong Edem (11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6) to set up a final with her compatriot, Reem El-Eraky, the coast looked clear for her especially after another top seed Funke Oshonaike fell on the way earlier.
Meshref then saw off El-Eraky in the women’s singles final on Sunday by winning (11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8).
The Egyptian follows a long line of family tradition of ping pong players. Two of her aunts, Nihal Meshref and Shahira El-Alfy have previously played in the women’s singles finals in 1994 and 2000 with the latter winning the title.
© The Predictor NG