by Ian Marshall, Editor
A competition organised on the same principles as the Youth Olympic Games, the duo responded to the challenge; they reached the final without the loss of a single individual match.
In the initial stage of proceedings they finished ahead of Morocco’s Salim Karam and Diana Noha Arangay with Botswana’s Phetso Jack and Tshepang Motlhalamme in third place.
Top spot in the group meant a direct entry to the quarter-finals where they maintained their good form to overcome the combination of Marrio Lablache from the Seychelles and Madagascar’s Niantsa Elsa Randrianarison, before accounting for the partnership comprising Cameroon’s Yaoussou Ahmed Nenba and Nandeshwaree Lilowtee Jalim of Mauritius to reserve their place in the final.
Comprehensive wins en route to the final; it was only in the title deciding contest against Nigeria, when opposing Azeez Amole Solanke and Esther Tonin Oribamise, that life became difficult.
In the opening match of the fixture, Marwa Alhodaby experienced defeat by the very narrowest of margins when facing Esther Tonin Oribamise (11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9). However, that was to be the sum total of Nigerian success. Youssef Abdel-Aziz levelled matters by beating Azeez Amole Solanke (11-7, 11-6, 15-13), before partnering Marwa Alhodaby to doubles success (11-8, 11-4, 11-3); thus securing the precious title.
Notably all four players, who competed in the final, will be on duty at the forthcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games; a competition which Khaled El-Salhy, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation, eagerly awaits.
“I am very satisfied with the standard of the four players. I am sure they will be excellent representatives for Africa in Buenos Aires. Maybe they can cause a big surprise and return with a medal as did Tunisia’s Adem Hmam, with China’s Gu Yuting in the Mixed Team event, at first Youth Olympic Games. The four players with attend an ITTF Training Camp next month in Shanghai.” Khaled El-Salhy.
Defeat at the final hurdle but as with Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Marwa Alhodaby, Azeez Amole Solanke and Esther Tonin Oribamise had progressed to the title deciding contest with comparative ease. Similarly two matches to nil wins were recorded on each venture.
They finished in first place in their group ahead of Djibouti’s Abdoulkader Elmi Mohamed and Waberi Abdallah Ladan to book the place in the main draw where the good form continued. They accounted for Morocco’s Salim Karam and Diana Noha Arangay at the quarter-final stage prior ousting Algeria’s Abdelbasset Chaichi and Loubna Djedjik.
The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games await.
2018 African Youth Games: Results – Mixed Team Event (Tuesday 24th July)