13 Apr 2019

Gold for Egypt’s Mahmoud Helmy but as proceedings came to a close on Saturday 13th April at the 2019 African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra, it was Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke and Taiwo Mati who very much held centre stage.

Both teenagers afforded performances that suggest the future of a country, with long established traditions, is in good hands.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Notably Azeez Solanke won both the junior boys’ singles title and partnering Jamiu Ayanwale struck junior boys doubles gold.

In both disciplines, on the concluding day of play, Azeez Solanke ended Egyptian hopes. In the junior boys’ singles event, after having accounted for Abdelraham Dendan at the quarter-final stage, a contest in which the Egyptian had to eventually withdraw owing to injury (11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, ret), he beat Ahmed El-Borhamy (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8) and Marwan Abdelwahab (13-11, 4-11, 10-12, 11-5, 13-11, 11-6) to secure the title.

Defeat for Marwan Abdelwahab who, in the later rounds, had ousted Nigeria’s Abayomi Animasahun (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8) and Tunisia’s Aboubaker Bourass (11-8, 11-8, 11-3, 11-7), in the junior boys’ doubles final partnering colleague Gawad El-Herazy, it was also defeat. They suffered at the hands of Jamiu Ayanwale and Azeez Solanke (11-8, 11-7, 11-6).

The top step of the podium for Jamiu Ayanwale, in the cadet boys’ singles event, after accounting for Tunisia’s Habib Ameur (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7), it was the second step. He was beaten in the final by Taiwo Mati (11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8). Impressively, at the semi-final stage, Taiwo Mati had ousted Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh (11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-4).

Prominent performances from aspiring young men from Nigeria; it was very much the same in the under 21 men’s singles event; but there was not stopping Mahmoud Helmy. After recording a quarter-final success against Azeez Solanke (11-4, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5); he beat Marwan Abdelwahab (13-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8) and Emmanuel Augustine, like Azeez Solanke from Nigeria (11-1, 8-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-2), to reserve the top step of the podium.

Most impressive from Mahmoud Helmy, it had been very similar in the opposite half of the draw from Emmanuel Augustine. At the quarter-final stage he had beaten Gabon’s Andy Bringaud (12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 11-1), followed by a penultimate round success in opposition to colleague Abayomi Animasahun (11-5, 11-9, 11-5, 13-11).

Success for Azeez Solanke and Taiwo Mati on the concluding day of play and it was more success; earlier both had been members of the successful under 21 men’s team, in addition Azeez Solanke had secured the top prize in the junior boys’ team event, Taiwo Mati had struck cadet boys’ team gold.

2019 African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships: Newsletter No.8 (Saturday 13th April)

2019 African Youth Azeez Solanke Taiwo Mati Mahmoud Helmy

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