Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Dina Meshref won the titles at the 2020 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup which ended in Tunis on Wednesday February 26.
Saleh, whose last major title was in 2012 defeated number one, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri 4-3 (11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3) to emerge as the new champion.
Unlike Saleh, Meshref continued her dominance in Africa when she beat Nigeria’s Offiong Edem 4-1 (11-2, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6) to retain the title being her fourth trophy in the competition.
In the third place matches, Egypt’s Omar Assar beat Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 12-10) while Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou defeated Egypt’s Yousra Helmy 3-1 (11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 12-10) to settle for bronze medals.
An elated Saleh said: “I am very happy because I could not imagine that I will go past Aruna in this tournament. All I did was to focus from the first point to the end.”
The Egyptian veteran added: “I really don’t want to quit at 40 as I want to play until my body cannot do it anymore. I love table tennis and I will continue.”
Meshref said afterwards that winning the title this year was a bit tasking.
“When I started the competition, I just stay focus, play my game and not think about how many times I had won it in the past. I must commend Edem because she is an experienced player who played extremely well. She changed tactic every time which sometimes make it difficult to play against her.”