By Neha Aggarwal
In a curious battle of youth and experience, the younger generation emerged successful. Dina Meshref and Omar Assar, the young and vibrant pair from Egypt yet again proved their supremacy in the continent of Africa. They beat the much experienced and older pair of Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike in the finals of the mixed doubles to clinch the third title for Egypt at the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championship here at Agadir, Morocco.
Egypt’s superstar Dina Meshref,admitted after winning the title that even though the scoreline shows a comfortable win, it was a hard fought match. She said,
“I must admit that it was a bit difficult for us winning this title last year because we played the pair of Olufunke Oshonaike and Aruna Quadri in the quarterfinal and Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing and Saka Suraju in the semifinal. But this year, getting to the final was that hard and the final was not as easy as the result because we played against two of the most experienced players in Africa.”
Playing against experienced players is always hard as they are better with strategizing the game and making the right decisions as they have already done that million times. At Agadir, Dina and Omar were aware of this but kept their aggression alive to lift the crown.
A disappointed Segun Toriola, who lost the second title to Egypt this championship said, ” From the beginning I knew it was going to be hard for us because Oshonaike was worried and when it comes to rally we cannot withstand them because Oshonaike is a defensive player.”
With two straight losses, Toriola is even the more determined to win the upcoming men’s doubles title pairing with Aruna Quadri. A confident Toriola said,
“In the men’s doubles final, we must win at all cost having lost two gold medals to Egypt in this competition. I am confident that with Quadri Aruna, Nigeria can retain the men’s doubles title.”
The top seeded Nigerian pair beat fourth seeded pair of Khalid Assar and Mohamed El-Beiali in a hard fought 4-2 victory (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 15-13, 11-6 ). They will now face Egypt’s pair of Ashin El-Sayed and Saleh Ahmed, the second seed in the draw. In the semi finals, they beat Nigerian pair of Abiadun Bode and Amotayo Olajide 4-2 (8-11, 1-11, 3-11, 11-9,11-4, 10-12 ) and moved to the penultimate stage.
The women singles round of 32 commenced on day five with top seed Dina Meshref, second seed Olufunke Oshonaike, third seed Farah Abdel Aziz and fourth seed Yousra Helmy receiving a bye.
Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci beat Jolie Mafuta-Ivoso (CGO) in straight games to move to the round of 16 where she will play against Dina Meshref. In the bottom half, Ira Bokockou (CGO) beat Ilham Mezouary (MAR) in a narrow win of seven games (8-11, 12-14, 11-7, 11-0,9-11,11-9, 11-9). She will now face second seed and Nigeria’s only representative in women’s singles Olufunke Oshonaike in the round of 16 to be played on 29th October.