by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager (Interviews by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer)
Earlier at the semi-final stage Omar Assar, the top seed, had beaten Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu (11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 11-5); Quadri Aruna, the no.2 seed, had accounted for Ahmed Ali Saleh, the no.3 seed and like Omar Assar from Egypt (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5).
“It is unbelievable for me to win this tournament and it came at the right time I needed my confidence after starting the year not too well at the Hungarian Open and in the German Bundesliga. There has been a lot of pressure on me after moving clubs. I think winning this will restore my confidence. I am grateful to my club, Werder Bremen, for their support. I also think Aruna played very well and he deserved to win as well. This final was a good showcase for Africa and I am happy that we have such a level of competition in Africa with quality players.” Omar Assar
The win means that Omar Assar gains an invitation to compete in the Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup to be staged in October in Paris.
It will be the third time that he has competed in the prestigious annual event; he was present in 2015 in the Swedish west coast city of Halmstad and last year in Saarbrücken.
Top spot for Egypt, it was also third place for the North African country; Ahmed Ali Saleh beat Saheed Idowu to secure the bronze medal position.
Fifth position finished in the hands of Nigeria’s Segun Toriola; next in the order of merit came Algeria’s Sami Kherouf followed by Tunisia’s Thameur Mamia and Ghana’s Derek Abfrefa.