By Neha Aggarwal
Women’s Team Event
It is always magical to do the “first time” things. Sport gives one many opportunities to make that happen. At Agadir today, Tunisia had their magical “first” as they entered the finals of the Women’s team event of the ITTF Africa Senior Championship for the first time ever. They surpassed Algeria with a 3-1 victory to move to the finals. Excited on this historic feat, Abir Haj Salah from Tunisia expressed her fulfillment and said: “we were of the same level and I should say that it is not always easy to beat them”. With this statement, the win makes it even the more special.
Tunisia will face the mighty Egypt in the final of the Women’s Team event which is scheduled to be played at 4:30pm local time. Egypt beat South Africa in the semi finals with a comfortable 3-0 margin. Egypt’s Dina Meshref was seen in action and broke no sweat as she won her opening match in straight sets on day two.
Algeria will not return home disappointed as they finished at a respectable third position after beating South Africa 3-0 in match to fight for the third position. Later, Congo Brazzaville prevailed over Morocco 3-1 to secure the fifth position and thus Morocco had to settle down at number six.
The Women’s Team event will conclude on Wednesday 26th October and all focus will be shifted to the singles and the doubles events.
Men’s Team Event
It was not surprising to see the two countries that entered the finals of the Men’s Team event. It was Egypt and Nigeria. The clash between the two was certainly predicted and both the countries lived up to their own expectations.
On their way to the finals, Egypt defeated Tunisia 3-0 in the quarter finals and Congo Brazzaville in the semi-finals with the similar score line to establish their footing in the finals of the Men’s team event. In the bottom half, Nigeria also paved their way to the finals beating South Africa in quarter finals and Algeria in the semi-finals in straight sets.
The final match will be played on October 26th at 6:00pm local time. Commenting on the final match Egypt’s Omar Assar said,
“We knew from the start of the competition that we will meet Nigeria in the final and so we have prepared well for them. The Nigerian team is a very strong side with the presence of Segun Toriola and Quadri Aruna who are both playing very well lately. The Nigerian side never gives up and they always fight till the end. I also trust my teammates because they are all in good shape and our philosophy is that we all fight for the team and this is what we are taking into the final against Nigeria.”
The position matches to determine the finals standings will also be played on day three at 3:00pm local time. Congo Brazzaville will compete against Algeria to determine third position. Tunisia and Tongo will face each other to play for the fifth position and Senegal and South Africa will play to determine the seventh and the eighth position.
Olufunke Oshonaike disappointed
Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike expressed her disappointment as her teammates were unable to participate in the Championship.
I’m so very sad and disappointed” said Oshonaike. “Nigeria was walked over because we couldn’t produce a team. I understand that the other girls couldn’t make it since the Sports Ministry failed to fund their trip.”
She will thus take part in the Women’s singles event which starts on 28th October 2016.