by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the final hurdle Ahmed Ali Saleh overcame colleague, Mohamed El-Beiali, the no.2 seed and winner in 2013 in Erbil, Iraq (4-11, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9), having earlier in the day at the semi-final stage ousted Tunisia’s Adem Hmam, the no.4 seed (11-13, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3).
“My first goal was to win this competition why? Because I won my first Arab Cup over 10 years ago and with the same coach Maged Ashour; that’s why this title is very special for me.” Ahmed Al Saleh
In the counterpart semi-final, Mohamed El-Beiali accounted for Algeria’s Sami Kherouf (13-11, 11-7, 10-12, 12-14, 11-6, 11-3); the third place match was not contested.
Success for Egypt on the concluding day of action; there was also success for the north African country in both the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles events but not in the Men’s Doubles competition.
Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Ali Saleh, the top seeds, experienced a semi-final Men’s Doubles defeat at the hands Qatar’s Fahed Almughanne and Ahmed Alawlaqi (8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6).
A splendid effort by the Qatari duo but it was not to be gold; at the final hurdle they experienced defeat at the hands of Algeria’s Aissa Belkadi and Sami Kherouf (11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9). Earlier, in the penultimate round Aissa Belkadi and Sami Kherouf had ended the hopes of Oman’s Abdullah Khalfan Al-Zouabi and Fadi Kamal Masalmeh (11-3, 11-7, 11-5).
Defeat for Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Ali Saleh, the consolation was the third step of the podium; in the bronze medal match they accounted for Abdullah Khalfan Al-Zouabi and Fadi Kamal Masalmeh (11-5, 11-3, 11-5)
Bronze for Egypt in the Men’s Doubles event but in both the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles competitions, it was gold.
Star of the show was Farah Abdel-Aziz. She joined forces with colleague Yousra Helmy to win Women’s Doubles gold, beating Algeria’s Katia Kessaci and Islem Laid in the final (10-12, 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9); before in the early evening, overcoming her partner in the Women’s Singles final (7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3).
“My goal was to win but Dina Meshref was in the team. However, after she withdrew I thought I had good chance to win. It was very difficult when I was down two-one. We know each other very well , and she played very well. Finally I changed my tactics and my serve which helped me a lot. ” Farah Abdel-Aziz
Third place in the Women’s Singles event was secured by Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian, she accounted for Katia Keccasi in the play-off contest (11-4, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8).