06 Aug 2019

Reigning champions, on Monday 5th August, Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref successfully retained their titles at the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup in the Nigerian capital city of Lagos.

Both qualify for the respective Men’s and Women’s World Cup tournaments to be held later in the year in Chengdu, China.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The no.3 seed, at the semi-final stage Omar Assar accounted for the host nation favourite, Quadri Aruna, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3), prior to overcoming colleague, Ahmed Ali Saleh, the no.2 seed (10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3), the winner as far back as 1997 when the second edition of the tournament was staged in Port Elizabeth.

Quadri Aruna duly finished in third place; in the play-off contest he accounted for Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, the no.8 seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-5), the penultimate round victim of Ahmed Ali Saleh (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-2).

Success for Omar Assar contrary to seeding, for Dina Meshref it was according to status. The top seed, at the semi-final stage she beat Nigeria’s Offiong Edem, the no.2 seed, with the loss of just one game (11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8), a contest where the result was somewhat more convincing than when they had met in the final of the Arab Club Championships five days earlier. On that occasion Dina Meshref had been extended the full distance (11-6, 12-14, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8).

A place in the final booked, it was a family affair; she beat her cousin, Yousra Helmy, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8) to claim the title. Earlier Yousra Helmy had beaten Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci in a tense semi-final contest (11-1, 10-12, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10) to reserve her place in the title decider. Offiong Edem gained third place, accounting for Fadwa Garci in five games (8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8).

Gold and silver for Egypt, personal triumphs for Omar Assar and Dina Meshref; this is the third time that Omar Assar has won the title, for Dina Meshref and incredible seventh. Moreover, it is six in a row.

Once again success for Omar Assar (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Most significantly, in Chengdu, Omar Assar will be making his third appearance in the Men’s World Cup, he previously appeared in 2015 in Halmstad and in 2017 in Liège; for Dina Meshref it will be no less than her seventh venture in the Women’s World Cup. She made her debut in 2011 in Singapore. Since 2014 in Linz, she has been ever present.

The Women’s World Cup will be staged from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th October, the Men’s World Cup from Friday 29th November to Sunday 1st December.

2019 ITTF Africa Cup Omar Assar Dina Meshref

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Day 3 - 2019 ITTF Africa Cup