Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Dina Meshref have secured places at the 2017 ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup scheduled for later this year.
They qualified after emerging champions at the 2017 ITTF-African Cup which started on Saturday and ended on Monday in Agadir, Morocco.
A statement by ITTF-Africa Media Department shows that Quadri ended the dominance of Omar Assar of Egypt in a tight seven-game encounter in the men’s competition.
He won 4-3 (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9) to make his second consecutive appearance at the Men’s World Cup.
The statement quotes the 28-year-old Quadri as saying after the match: “I am so happy that I won because it was not an easy match.
“I am happy that my backhand worked well in the match, because I was afraid to use it against my friend Assar whom I know was in his best form this time.
“I think Assar played (well) and that I was just lucky today (Monday) because sometime luck played crucial role in matches.’’
The statement also has it that the women’s singles final was another classic encounter between Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike.
The 41-year-old Oshonaike was unable to repeat her success against Meshref this time round, at the same venue where she shocked the young Egyptian at the 2016 ITTF-African Championships.
The 23-year-old Egyptian was determined not to let history repeat itself by putting up an impressive performance to sweep the title 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2).
“It was not an easy match and this cannot be judged by the result,’’ Meshref was quoted as saying after her victory.
“The first two games were very tough and I knew that if I could win the first two games, my confidence will grow and I have the opportunity to win the match.
“It was good winning at the same venue I lost to her last year. But, more important, it is better to qualify for the ITTF Women’s World Cup. It is a tournament that is very special to me.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2017 ITTF-African Cup championships in Agadir is the continental qualification for the prestigious ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
While the Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men’s World Cup is scheduled forOct. 20 to Oct. 22 in Liege, Belgium.
Also, the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup is scheduled for Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 in Markham, Canada.
NAN reports that the ITTF World Cups are the second most prestigious events on the international table tennis calendar.
Only 20 of the top table tennis players in the world are eligible to play.
They must qualify through their respective Continental Cups together with the current World Champions, one host player and a wildcard.
The next continental qualification for the ITTF World Cups will be the ITTF-Pan American Cup in San Jose Costa Rica from July 28 to July 30.