ITTF Africa: 42-year-old Oshonaike Wins Title, Quadri Loses

Olufunke Oshonaiki with the African title. PHOTO: ITTF Africa

Nigeria’s veteran table tennis player Olufunke Oshonaiki won the women’s singles title of the 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championships in Morocco Sunday.

Oshonaiki defeated 2015 winner, Egypt’s Dina Meshref, 4-2 to win the title for the first time in two years.

The 42-year-old needed just an hour to edge her Egyptian rival.

She took the first two sets 11-7, 13-11.  But the Egyptian rallied back to win the next two sets 11-5, 11-9.

She then took the remaining sets 11-7, 11-7 to emerge winner.

Africa’s number one goes down

It was, however, not a good news for Nigeria in the men’s category as Africa’s number one Aruna Quadri lost 4-3 to Egyptian rival Omar Assar.

Quardi, who was undefeated prior to the final, failed to reenact the form that saw him edge his rival at the 2016 African Top 16 in Sudan.

The Nigerian star took the first set 12-10. But Assar bounced back to claim the second and third sets 11-6, 11-9.

It wasn’t over for Quadri, though, as he fought back to win the fourth set 11-8. But his Egyptian opponent was not ready to surrender his lead as he took the fifth set 12-10.

The sixth set went to the Nigerian to level the scores at 3-3, but he lost the last set 11-9 to the Egyptian.

Meanwhile, following her victory in the Women’s singles final, Oshonaiki told reporters that she expected a tough match as she was against the African champion.

“I knew it was going to be tough because Meshref was the African champion and had not been beaten in the last two years.

”I just told myself to go out there and have fun, and show my experience. When it started working I gained more confidence.

“This victory means a lot to me, that I can still become African champion, despite my age. It shows that nothing is impossible.”

Egypt won the men and women’s team titles as well as the women’s doubles title. They also won the men’s singles title. Nigeria, however, won only the men’s doubles and the women’s singles titles in Morocco.

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