Excitement as Quadri qualifies for World Cup, Oshonaike fails

Aruna Quadri

Nigerian table tennis star Aruna Quadri on Monday defeated  his continental foe Egypt’s Omar Assar 4-3 in the final of the 2017 ITTF Africa Cup in Morocco to qualify for the World Cup in France.

The 2016 Olympic Games quarterfinalist had earlier made a short work of Assar’s compatriot, Mohamed El-Belali, who he defeated 4-0 in the semifinals.

From his spectacular outing at the 2017 World Championships in Germany, Assar was tipped as favourite for the final tie.

However, the explosive final game saw the Egyptian taking the lead at some point and looking good to win the encounter and qualify for the World Cup, but Aruna had other ideas, as he bounced back to edge his rival 4-3 to emerge Africa’s men’s singles champion as well as seal a spot in France.

“I am so happy and I think I was lucky. I look forward to play in the ITTF World Cup later this year in France,” Quadri, who played without a coach, said after the hard-fought victory.

It was Quadri’s first win over Assar in recent times, since their fierce rivalry began in 2015

In terms of continental titles, Assar ranks higher than Quadri, having won everything at stake in Africa in the last two years but in 2016, the fast-rising Quadri floored the Egyptian to the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Khartoum, Sudan.

In the women’s singles final, Funke  Oshonaike  succumbed to Egypt’s Dina Meshref in the women’s singles final 4-0.

Quadri and Meshref will represent Africa at the ITTF World Cups later in the year. Punch

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