Table Tennis: Egypt Wins Double Gold in Singles at All-Africa Games

Egypt showed they are still one of the best African nations by winning gold in both the single events at the table tennis event at the 2015 All-Africa Games. The All-Africa Games are a multi-sport continental games for the nations of Africa. Only table tennis offered direct qualification to the Olympics. The top four highest ranked men and women in the single events qualified to the Olympics, with a maximum of two athletes per nation. The All-Africa Games were held from September 2nd to September 19th 2015 in Brazzaville, Congo. The table tennis events at the All-Africa Games were held from September 10th to September 19th 2015.

As expected from the top nations of Africa the quarterfinals for both the men’s and women’s singles were made up of athletes representing Congo, Egypt and Nigeria. In the women’s singles with four athletes in the semifinals Egypt was looking as if they would grab the two maximum spots. They were able to accomplish this with their two top seeded athletes as Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly defeated Nigeria’s Offiong Edem (4-2) and Cecilia Akpan (4-0) respectively. Not everything was bad for Nigeria as Olufunke Oshonaike booked her spot by defeating Yousra Helmy of Egypt 4-2. The fourth Olympic quota went to Congo’s Han Xing as she defeated Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz 4-1. The final became an all-Egyptian affair when Meshref and El-Dawlatly defeated Han (4-2) and Oshonaike (4-2) respectively. Despite losing the first game it was Meshref whom defeated her compatriot, winning the gold medal with a score of 4-1. Congo took the bronze when Han defeated Oshonaike 4-1.

In the men’s singles Egypt again was able to reach the maximum quotas as Omar Assar and Khalid Assar defeated Congo’s Saheed Idowu (4-0) and Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo (4-1) in the quarterfinals respectively. Unseeded Wang Jianan was the upset of the tournament as he defeated multiple seeded players to reach the semifinals and an Olympic berth by defeating Nigeria’s Segun Toriola 4-1. The final Olympic spot went to Quardi Aruna of Nigeria whom defeated Ahmed Saleh of Egypt 4-1. The top two seeded athletes reached the final though Omar Assar needed all seven games to defeat Wang Jianan 4-3. Aruna defeated Khalid Assar 4-0 to book his spot to the final. In the final Omar Assar won the first two games, but things looked to turn around when Aruna won the third set 18-16. However, Omar Assar regained his composure to finish off the game to win the gold medal 4-1. The bronze medal went to Wang Jianan whom defeated Khalid Assar 4-3.

Athletes from Africa will have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at the African qualification tournament to be held in 2016. Also by qualifying two athletes Egypt has taken an early lead in the race for the team quota as number of athletes qualified is the first priority; though expect Nigeria and even Congo to make things a bit harder for Egypt by the end of the African qualification tournament.

Quotas by Nation

  • Egypt – 4
  • Congo – 2
  • Nigeria – 2

References

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