Nigeria’s Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem won the Women’s Doubles title at the All Africa Games in Maputo on Saturday 10th September 2011; thus retaining the title won in 2007 in Algeria.
In Algeria the roll of honour read Offiong Edem and Cecilia Offiong; since that win Cecilia Offiong has married and is now Cecilia Akpan.
The top seeds in Maputo, they beat compatriots Janet Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike in the final in three straight games.
They won 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.
Tested by Algerian A comprehensive victory but en route to gold they were tested.
Notably at the quarter-final stage by Algeria’s Fatiha Bouclars and Islem Laid; victory being secured by the very narrowest of five game margins (5-11, 11-7, 8 -11, 11-8, 12-10).
Never Played Doubles in Team Event The performance of Fatiha Bouclars and Islem Laid rather begs the question as why they never partnered each other in the doubles in the Women’s Team event earlier in the proceedings.
Algeria gained fourth place with Katia Kessaci and Faiza Laid always forming the doubles partnership.
Semi-Final Win Success in the quarter-finals, Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem overcame the third seeded duo of Egypt’s Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Dina Meshref in four games (5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6) to book their place in the final.
Upset Seeding Progress to the final as the seeding predicted but that was not the case in the lower half of the draw where Janet Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike caused two notable upsets.
They beat fourth seeds, Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz and Sara Hassan in the quarter-finals in the closest match of the event (11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 14-12) before ending the hopes of the second seeded Congo Brazzaville pairing of Han Xing and Onyinechi Nwachukwu in an almost equally hard fought seven games duel.
Recovery The duo recovered from a two games to nil deficit to record a memorable five games success (14-16, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7).
Once again it was gold in a Women’s Doubles event at the All Africa Games.
Proud Record In fact only once have they not collected the prestigious title; in 1987 in Nairoibi, the gold medal was won by Ghana’s Patricia Offei and Patience Opokuah.
Otherwise, the title has always finished in Nigerian hands.
Ethel Jacks In 1973 in Lagos it was won by Modupe Beyioku and Ethel Jacks; then in 1978 in Algiers, Ethel Jacks won again, this time with Olawunmi Majeekodunmi.
Olufunke Oshonaike Two titles for Ethel Jacks but no-one can match Olufunke Oshonaike.
She won in Cairo in 1991 with Abiola Odumosu, before securing the title in partnership with Bose Kaffo in Harare in 1999, four years later in Johannesburg and in 2003 in Abjua.
One Step Short No gold or silver in 2007 but in 2011 with Janet Offiong it was silver; just one step short of a fifth gold.
In Maputo the champions were Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem.