by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
On the concluding day of play both justified their top seeded positions in the tournament.
At the final hurdle Omar Assar beat Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-8, 3-11, 13-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8), having earlier in the day accounted for Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu in the penultimate round (11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 11-5). In the opposite half of the draw Quadri Aruna had beaten Ahmed Ali Saleh, the no.3 seed and like Omar Assar from Egypt (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5).
Hard fought success for Omar Assar, for Dina Meshref there were fewer trials and tribulations, she was never extended the full distance at any stage of the event.
After securing a semi-final win over Nigeria’s Offiong Edem (11-7, 11-5, 3-11, 11-6, 12-10), she defeated Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou (11-2, 11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8) to reserve the top step of the podium. In the opposite half of the draw in the penultimate round, Sarah Hanffou had booked her place in the final courtesy of success against Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi (11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10).
In the Men’s Singles event, Ahmed Al Saleh finished in third place ahead of Saheed Idowu; Nigeria’s Segun Toriola, Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, Tunisia’s Thameur Mamia and Ghana’s Derek Abfrea completed the top eight names. The appearance of Derek Abrefa in the top eight names was an achievement of note; currently he has no world ranking and in the group phase extended Omar Assar the full five games distance (11-6, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4).
Equally, it was a noteworthy eighth place finish in the Women’s Singles event for Christy Bristol of the Seychelles. Earlier in the proceedings, she had concluded matters in second place in her group against the odds. She finished in runners up spot behind Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike, the no.2 seed but notably ahead of Algeria’s Katia Kessaci and the host nation’s Segal Thakkar.
Beaten at the semi-final stage, third place was the eventual lot of Offiong Edem followed by Lynda Loghraibi. Olufunke Oshonaike ended matters in fifth spot followed by Tunisia’s Safa Saidani and Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz.