by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager (Quotes by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer)
In a tense full distance five games duel, on the afternoon of Thursday 1st March, she beat Nigeria’s Offiong Edem, the no.4 seed, by the very narrowest of margins (11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10); the win coming after she had accounted for Nandeshwaree Jalim of Mauritius in what was arguably an even closer contest (11-13, 13-11, 11-6, 10-12, 15-13).
“I was not comfortable in the first match with the high altitude and the heat. The temperatures are a sharp contrast to Algeria where it’s cold. I think I will do better in my subsequent matches.” Lynda Loghraibi
Defeat for Nandeshwaree Jalim but with players finishing in first and second positions in each group advancing to the quarter-finals, the door is still open for the 16 year old from Mauritius.
“She beat me three-nil in our two previous meetings. However, I am happy today that I was able to match her in the encounter. I just need more experience in order to be able to play against top players in this kind of tournament. Initially I set a top 10 target for myself. After losing my first match, I hope I can qualify from the group. I will do my best.” Nandeshwaree Jalim
Defeat for Nandeshwaree Jalim but in her second contest it was success; she overcame Tunisia’s Abir Haj Salah, in a contest that was almost as close as the match against Lynda Loghraibi. She won in five games (11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5).
Success by a narrow margin; the theory often propounded is such a results breed confidence. It would appear that was the situation with regards to Lynda Loghraibi, who it would seem rather surprised herself.
“I thought that beating Edem would be an impossible task for me because I have never beaten her in our previous meetings. Today, I was calm and relaxed because I had nothing to lose. I was just playing and enjoying myself. So beating Edem today is like defeating Oshonaike or Meshref because she is one the best players in Africa. I am so happy because this will motivate me in this competition.” Lynda Loghraibi
In the concluding group stage matches, Lynda Loghraibi meets Abir Haj Salah, Offiong Edem faces Nandeshwaree Jalim; the matches will be played later in the day.