by Ian Marshall, Editor (Interview by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer)
Competing in class 4, the top seed, beaten the previous day in the group stage of proceedings by Nigeria’s Isau Ogunkunle (11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7), one day later by the very narrowest of margins, Mohamed Sameh Eid Salah turned the tables. He prevailed in five games to send his supporters into hysterics (11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7).
“I am so excited that I will be going to my fifth Paralympic Games in Tokyo but I must admit that it was a difficult route for me this year. My opponent is a good player and I think he is still young and can still make it to the Paralympic Games. Generally, this has been the toughest qualification for me and I am so happy that I will become the first African para table tennis player to compete in five Paralympic Games,” Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh
Success for the top seed; in group organised men’s singles events, likewise in class 2 it was gold for colleague Kamal El-Rashidy. He finished ahead of Essameldin Mahmoud, also from Egypt. Likewise, it was top spot for Nigeria’s Victor Farinloye in class 8, as it was in class 11 for Tunisia’s Karim Gharsallah. The Ivory Coast’s Kouame Kouado and Egypt’s Ahmed Ashmawy reserved respective second places.
Meanwhile, in men’s singles events where there were two stages, group followed by knock-out, the top seeds also enjoyed success. Additional to Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh; in all Egyptian finals, in class 3 Ahmed Koleosho beat Khaled Ramadan (11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 12-12) to secure gold; in class 7 Ahmed Sayed Moahmed succeeded at the expense of Abousteit Abdelmoneim (11-4, 11-4, 11-8). Similarly, in class 9 Tajudeen Agunbale accounted for Hussein Hussein Hassan (11-2, 11-6, 11-6) to claim the top prize.
Titles secured as anticipated, it was the same in the women’s singles events; in group administered competitions. In class 6-8, Hanna Hammad finished ahead of Egyptian colleague Zaki Dalia; in class 9-10 Nigeria’s Faith Obazuaye secured top spot with the host nation’s Reda Abdelaal in runners up spot.
Predictable outcomes but there were surprises. In women’s singles class 2-5, Faiza Mahmoud, the no.2 seed, beat Nigeria’s Chineye Obiora, the top seed, in the final (12-10, 18-16, 9-11, 11-6) to cause a minor ripple. In the men’s singles competitions the waves were much greater. In class 1 Egypt’s Eslam Raslan finished ahead Libya’s Jafar Salah with Egypt’s Walid El-Sayed, the top seed, in third place; also in a group administered events both Kamal Zenaty and Mahmoud Abdelmagid concluded matters at the head of the list.
Also in group organised events, in class 5 Kamal Zenaty secured first place with top seeded colleague Hassan Tolba, next in line, in class 6 Mahmoud Abdelmagid emerged the champion, Egyptian top seed, Ibrahim Hamadtou, the leading name, having to settle for fourth position.
Success against the odds for Egypt, it was the same for Nigeria; in class 10, Alabi Olufemi accounted for South Africa’s Theo Cogill, the top name at the final hurdle. He prevailed in five games (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6).
Play now focuses on the men’s team events; proceedings conclude on Tuesday 2nd July.
2019 Para African Championships: Latest Results and Draws