by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the 2017 Egypt Junior and Cadet Open, which concluded in Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday 15th October; not only did the aspiring 12 year old win the Hopes Boys’ Singles crown, in addition he secured the Cadet Boys’ Singles title.
No current world ranking, thus not seeded, Taiwo Mati progressed from strength to strength.
After accounting for Egypt’s Youssef Ehab at the semi-final stage of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event (11-5, 11-8, 13-11), he accounted for Tunisia’s Youssef Ben Attia, the top seed, in a hard fought full distance encounter to secure the first prize (11-7, 11-3, 13-15, 11-9, 11-7). Notably Youssef Ben Attia was in form; in the penultimate round he had beaten Congo Brazzaville’s Regis Kiassi, the no.3 seed, in four games (11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 12-10).
Impressive in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, in the Hopes Boys’ Singles, in the latter rounds Taiwo Mati had dominated proceedings as he ended Egyptian hopes. At the semi-final stage he had beaten Yassin Wael (11-6, 11-9, 11-8), prior to reserving the top step of the podium by overcoming Moamen Salaheldin (11-1, 14-12, 11-6). In the counterpart semi-final contest, Moamen Salaheldin had accounted for colleague, Mohamed Anany (11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 4-11, 11-7).
An air of disappointment for the host nation but in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles event there was to be a degree of consolation as Egypt joined forces with Tunisia. Mohamed Azzam and Youssef Ben Attia emerged successful overcoming Regis Kiassi and Algeria’s Abdelbasset Chaichi to claim gold (11-9, 11-5, 11-13, 10-12, 11-6).
Earlier at the semi-final stage Egyptian pairs had experienced defeat; Mohamed Azzam and Youssef Ben Attia had beaten Yehia Saad and Karim Zarad (11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-7); Abdelbasset Chaichi and Regis Kiassi had overcome Moamen Ashraf (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8) and Ziad El-Shawa (11-4, 12-14, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5).