Nigeria's Quadri ARUNA and Egypt's Dina MESHREF Emerge Champions at the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup
ARUNA Quadri is fast rediscovering the form that shot him to the spotlight in 2014 when he became the ITTF Male Table Tennis Star for that year.
The second seeded Nigerian defeated the top seed and Egypt's Omar ASSAR: 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 in the final. The victory was a sweet revenge for ARUNA, who lost to ASSAR 12 months ago to miss out on the priceless ITTF World Cup qualification position and has lost the last four encounters against the African number one.
The 27-year-old, after lifting the trophy, stated: "I felt so good after the quarter-final; it was 50:50 against Omar, my forehand was the key to winning. I lost the first game, if I had lost the second, I would have lost the match."
ARUNA now stands the chance to beat his career best performance of a Men's World Cup quarterfinal, which he achieved in 2014.
While commenting on his return to the World Cup stage, ARUNA said: "Everybody knows me now and wants to beat me. It will be even harder to achieve my goal."
Queen of African Table Tennis, Dina MESHREF, proved herself once again, as she strolled to her third consecutive ITTF-Africa Top 16 title.
The top seeded MESHREF was too good for Nigeria's Offiong EDEM, the number four seed, in the final, prevailing 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 to book a third straight appearance at the ITTF Women's World Cup.
"I am very happy to win the cup again, it's very special for me. It also means I will participate in the Women's World Cup this year, and each year I am getting better results in that competition", explained MESHREF. “Today the toughest match was against Offiong EDEM, she is a very strong player! Against HAN Xing, the service was the key, in that area I played better than before."
The ITTF World Cups are the second most prestigious events on the international table tennis calendar, with only 20 of the top table tennis players qualifying through their respective Continental Cups.
The Liebherr 2016 Men's World Cup will be held 1-3 October 2016 in Saarbrucken, Germany and the 2016 ITTF Women's World Cup on 7-9 October in a location to be announced.
Players who have already secured their places at the ITTF World Cups along with Quadri ARUNA & Dina MESHREF are Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER), SHEN Yanfei, Joao MONTEIRO (POR), Alexander SHIBAEV (RUS), HU Melek (TUR) and LIU Jia (AUT) who qualified at the recent ITTF-Europe Top 16.
The attention now turns to the ITTF-African Qualification tournament in Sudan for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Play starts on Tuesday 16th February.
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