by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Youssef Abdel-Aziz emerged as the most successful player on duty; semi-finalist earlier in the year at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg, the 18 year old departed Abidjan with the maximum available four titles to his name.
In addition to the Junior Boys’ Team title, he partnered Marwa Alhodaby to Junior Mixed Doubles success in addition to securing the Junior Boys’ Doubles top prize in harness with Marwan Abdelwahab; to put the icing on the cake he concluded matters by being crowned Junior Boys’ Singles champion.
Success in four games was the margin of victory in the Junior Mixed Doubles final when facing colleagues Ahmed Elboramy and Farida Badawy (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10); the Junior Boys’ Doubles final it was victory by the same margin at the expense of Tunisia’s Nathael Hamdoun and Aboubaker Bourass (11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3). Similarly in the Junior Boys’ Singles final, just one game was dropped when facing colleague Abdelrahaman Dendan, also from Egypt (11-5, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2).
Four titles on the final day for Youssef Abdel-Aziz; it was three for Marwa Alhodaby.
Additional to her Junior Mixed Doubles success in harness with Youssef Abdel-Aziz, she beat Algeria’s Sannah Lagsir by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12) to claim the Under 21 Women’s Singles title. A testing encounter, the Junior Girls’ Singles final was the exact opposite; she received a walk-over when due to face twin sister, Mariam Alhodaby.
Three titles for Mariam Alhodaby, it could have been more; due to partner Marwa Alhodaby in the Junior Girls’ Doubles final, the duo had to concede the contest when due to face compatriots Farida Badawy and Sara Elhakem in the final.
Meanwhile, in the remaining individual events decided on the last day of action, all Egyptian finals were the order of the day.
Aly Ghallab won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title beating Mahmoud Helmy in the final (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10); Mohamed Azzam accounted for Ziad Elshawa in the Cadet Boys’ Singles title decider (11-1, 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7), whilst in the Cadet Girls’ Singles competition the top step of the podium was reserved by Hend Fathy. In the final she beat Sara Elhakem (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Undoubtedly a successful experience for Egypt but also for Côte, d’Ivoire; an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament followed by the African Junior and Cadet Championships, it proved a most worthy and valuable initiative.