By Ijeoma Okigbo
Abuja – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Dina Meshref on Wednesday in Tunis respectively won the men’s and women’s singles titles at the 2020 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cups.
Saleh took the shine off the highest-ranked player of the event, Quadri Aruna, as the clash lived up to its expectations.
It was 6-6 on head-to-head for the familiar foes before going into the competition’s final on Wednesday, and Saleh now leads after a 4-3 victory.
The Egyptian took the first set 11-6, but Aruna pushed his way to win 11-5 in the second.
The new champion came on to lead 11-9 in the third set, and the world number 18 ranked player chased on to win 11-6.
The Nigerian lost the fifth set 9-11 and defeated Saleh with same score in the sixth.
But the Egyptian finished the tough game with an 11-3 victory to claim the title.
Meanwhile, there was no stopping Meshref, who could be described as the queen of African table tennis as she claimed her fifth consecutive Africa Top 16 Cup in the women’s singles.
The 25-year-old defeated Offiong Edem 4-1 (11-2 11-8 8-11 11-5 11-6) to defend her title.
“When I enter into any competition, I just stay focused, play my game and not think about how many times I have won it in the past,” she told ittf.com.
Earlier in the third-place matches, Omar Assar of Egypt and Cameroonian Sarah Hanffou emerged victorious over Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw and Helmy Yousra of Egypt.
While Assar won in the men’s singles, Hanffou won in the women singles.