29 Feb 2020

Some six months ago in late August at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, they proved the nemesis of Nigeria; in the respective men’s team and women’s team events they remained unbeaten to guide Egypt to reservations in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

On the early evening of Saturday 29th February, 2020 African Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tunis, they did the same again; Omar Assar and Dina Meshref reserved their place in the mixed doubles event in Japan’s capital city.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In Rabat, Omar Assar and Dina Meshref had proved pivotal to Egyptian full distance five match wins against Nigeria in the title deciding contests in each discipline; in Tunis the duo showed not a hint of charity.

Not one single game conceded, after accounting for Djibouti’s Ahmed Djamal and Rahma Houssein (11-4, 11-2, 11-2, 11-2), they beat Tunisia’s Thameur Mamia and Fadwa Garci (11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2) to book their place in the final where as in Rabat, Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike awaited.

Focused, the Egyptian duo made their intentions crystal clear; a most imposing win was recorded (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2).

Hopes over

The result means that in reality the hopes of the now 45 year old Segun Toriola appearing in an unprecedented eight Olympic Games are now over.

“There is nothing special than to keep on practising and training regularly. I know I am old but when you keep on practising and work hard it helps keep your level intact for a while.

I am going to miss the Olympics because it is special to me. I really wanted to qualify but unfortunately, I did not. I am satisfied with my career as it has been fantastic. No I am not targeting another Olympic Games and it is left for the younger athletes to continue.” Segun Toriola

In the opposite half of the draw, similar to Omar Assar and Dina Meshref, Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike had imposed their authority on proceedings; straight games wins were the order of proceedings.

Alas for Olufunke Oshonaike (left) and (right) Segun Toriola, the Tokyo place proved elusive (Photo: Moez Fellah)


They accounted for Kenya’s Brian Mutua and Doreen Juma (11-4, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4), followed by a similar success in opposition to Algeria’s Sami Kherouf and Lynda Loghraibi (11-5, 13-11, 11-6, 11-1).

Play concluded, next on the agenda, Tunis now looks to the next generation; from Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st March, the city hosts an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.


  • Qualifiers – Mixed Doubles: Omar Assar / Dina Meshref (Egypt)
  • Qualifiers – Men’s Singles: Ibrahima Diaw (Senegal), Adam Hmam (Tunisia), Olajide Omotayo (Nigeria), Larbi Bouriah (Algeria)
  • Qualifiers – Women’s Singles: Offiong Edem (Nigeria), Fadwa Garci (Tunisia), Olufunke Oshonaike (Nigeria), Sarah Hanffou (Cameroon)
2020 African Singles and Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification Tournament Omar Assar Dina Meshref

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