by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Dina Meshref means that she becomes only the second player from Africa to win either an ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series Women’s Doubles title.
At the 2014 ITTF World Tour Nigeria Open, Dina Meshref was beaten by compatriot Nadeen El-Dawlatly at the quarter-final stage; Nadeen El-Dawlatly progressed to secure the title overcoming Congo Brazzaville’s Han Ying in the final.
One year later, Dina Meshref reached the final, losing to Portugal’s Shao Jieni; now that disappointment has been laid to rest and the number of titles gained on the ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series has been increased to four in number.
In 2013 on home soil in Cairo, she won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title when also causing Russia heartache; she beat Yana Noskova in the final. Two years later in Lagos, she repeated the success. She accounted for colleague Yousra Helmy in the final, prior to joining forces with Shao Jieni to be crowned Women’s Doubles champion.
Meanwhile, for Olga Kulikova; she becomes the sixth Russian to reach an ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series final.
Four years ago in 2013, Maria Bykova won in Morocco beating compatriot Irina Ermakova in the gold medal contest, whilst Maria Dolgikh succeeded in Egypt, notably overcoming Dina Meshref in the final. One year earlier Polina Mikhailova had emerged successful Belarus, whilst in the same year being the runner up in Croatia and Belarus. Similarly, Irina Kotikhina was the silver medallist in St Petersburg in 2005.
Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly stand the only players from Africa, not only to win an ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series tournament, they are the only players from the continent to have ever reached such a final.