By Neha Aggarwal
Nigeria wins Men’s Doubles title
Nigeria took a deep long breath and finally rejoiced as the pair of Quadri Aruna and Segun Toriola won the Men’s Doubles title defeating Lashin El-Sayed and Ahmed Ali Saleh ( 11-8, 8-11, 11-13, 11-9,11-7, 11-5) in the finals. It is Nigeria’s first gold medal of the Championship and it was delightfully welcomed by the team. After the win, Segun Toriola expressed his satisfaction,
“For us winning this title is very good because I had said earlier that it is a must for us to win this doubles title. But I must also tell you that it was not an easy match because the match was strange to us in all departments. Also our opponents are very experienced players and clever, so we are so excited claiming the first gold medal for Nigeria in this competition.”
With this all energies will now be shifted to the singles as both the countries are eyeing the final two medals on the final day of the tournament.
Dina Meshref and Yousra Helmy win Women’s Doubles title
For Dina Meshref, it was the third gold and a special one as she partnered her cousin Yousra Helmy for the first time and won the Women’s Doubles title. The duo beat teammates Farah Abdel-Aziz and Reem El-Eraky in a well fought match that needed six games (11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 14-16, 11-9, 11-4). After her win, Dina said, “Winning the doubles title this year is very special because this is the first time I am partnering Yousra Helmy, who is my cousin and I think we played very together as doubles partner.”
She also expressed her disappointment on the missing element from the Championship, Congo Brazzaville and Nigeria.
” The absence of players from Congo Brazzaville and Nigeria may have taken the shine off the event but what is most important is that we have won for Egypt.”
Nevertheless, for Dina, it has been a wonderfully successful journey so far as she has won the gold medal in all the events she took part in. She is now eyeing the singles title and will be hoping for a clean sweep, a high possibility!
Quadri Aruna through to men’s singles semi-finals
Quadri Aruna was one of the most elated man on day six of the championship as he finally reached the semi-finals of the African Championships. In the past, he always bowed down before the final four stage and thus this win is special. He beat Egypt’s Khalid Assar 4-2 (11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 3-11) in the men’s singles quarter-finals.
He said, “I am very happy that I got to the semifinal of the African Championship because I was always edged out in the quarterfinal and this for me is step forward in my career. “
Commenting on the humidity inside the stadium which made it hard for the players to adjust, Quadri said,
“The match against Assar Khalid was a bit difficult because both of us did not play our normal game because of the humidity as one could know where the ball will go. We could not even rally very well and this made it very hard for both of us. In all I am very happy that I am making it to the last four of the competition for the first time since I have been taking part and I hope I can exceed this stage.”
The men’s singles semi-final line up is Omar Assar (EGY) versus El-Sayed Lashin (EGY) and Ahmed Ali Saleh (EGY) versus Quadri Aruna (NGR).
Three women from Egypt and one from Nigeria made it to the women’s singles semi-finals. The line up is: Dina Meshref (EGY) versus Aida Rahmo Ai(EGY) and Farah Abdel-Aziz (EGY) versus Oshonaike Olufunke (NGR).