12th African Games: Olajide Omotayo is African Games Champion

12th African Games: Olajide Omotayo is African Games Champion

African Champions - 2019 African Games (Olajide Omotayo and Dina Meshref)

The unexpected happened in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday August 29, as a new face emerged as the champion of Africa in the men’s singles event at the 2019 African Games.

Unfavoured Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo conquered three of the best players in Africa to be crowed the champion to come out of the continent.

From the quarterfinal stage, Omotayo worked his way to the final beating two former champions – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages.

The final produced the best of Africa with Aruna Quadri going up against Omotayo and the fans were treated to an exciting match.

Omotayo threw caution to the wind and raced to the lead with a 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 16-14) but experienced Quadri cut the lead to 3-2 with 8-11, 13-15 wins in the fourth and fifth games.

The sixth match was a display of energy and skills and it was the younger Omotayo that scaled through with 12-10 win to claim the second gold medals for Nigeria in the table tennis event of the multi-sports fiesta.

In the women’s singles, Egypt’s Dina Meshref retained her title to become the first female Egyptian to win the title back-to-back.

To beat Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou, who had earlier edged out Nigeria’s Edem Offiong in semifinal, Meshref took charge from the start and controlled the match to end at 11-7, 11-4, 11-2, 11-7 to the admiration of the Egyptian fans.

A satisfied Meshref said she was happy becoming the first female Egyptian to set a new feat in table tennis.

“I am so happy becoming the first female Egyptian to win the women singles title back-to-back for the first time. But I must admit that it was not easy at all because the four years difference between the two titles was very long for me to be able to keep up with my performance. I am so excited that I was able to retain the title again,” Meshref said.

She added: “It was a bit easy for me winning the title this year because in 2015, I had to play against some Chinese players from Congo Brazzaville and I also confronted Edem Offiong of Nigeria in the quarterfinal stage. There was also a lot of pressure on me then because it was then the qualification for the Olympic Games. So this year, I played with less pressure and I had a good draw to the final.”

An elated Omotayo said: “I am very happy winning the African Games. I am so proud of myself because this is a big one for my career and it was a good journey for me from the start of this competition having won against some of the best players in the continent.”

SOURCE : Media Attf

Olajide Omotayo shines as Nigerians dominate men’s singles

Olajide Omotayo shines as Nigerians dominate men’s singles

Team Nigeria - 2019 African Games (Olajide Omotayo)

Olajide Omotayo gave an inkling of what he has in stock again at the 12th African Games as the Nigerian defeated one of the continent’s most celebrated star – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh 4-3 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles to berth in the semifinal of table tennis.

Omotayo was all over the Egyptian in the encounter which had the fans glued to their seat throughout the match.

The Nigerian combined his backhand with forehand smoothly and this confused the Egyptian who had to surrendered to the youthful Nigerian star.

Aside Omotayo, Aruna Quadri also walloped Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu 4-0 to berth in the last four and set up a rematch of the ITTF Africa Cup against Egypt’s Omar Assar on Thursday August 29.

Seven-time Olympian Segun Toriola was at his very best when he also beat Egypt’s Khalid Assar 4-3 to set up a semifinal clash against Omotayo.

In the women’s event, Olufunke Oshonaike played her last game after going down 3-4 to Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz. Dina Meshref also beat Algeria’s Lynda Logrhaibi 4-0, while Edem Offiong humbled Egypt’s Reem El-Eraky.

Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou berthed in the last four after beating Egypt’s Yousra Helmy.

Offiong will battle Hanffou while Meshref will face her compatriot – Abdel-Aziz in the second semifinal on Thursday August 29.

An elated Omotayo said: ” I am so excited that in my first African Games I made it to the semifinal. I knew that it was going to be a tough game against one of the most experienced African players and I just ensured that I did not get angry on table because he did everything to upset me but I was determined. I was calm and I am happy that this is a good outing for me in the singles.”


SOURCE : Media Attf

Decathlon Table Tennis Championship

Players, Coaches and Decathlon Official Ready for Cadet boys Final (Photo - Lord Kinful)

Decathlon a global brand in sports equipment and sports wear with presence in 50 plus countries and about 1200 stores world wide, remained true to it’s vision when it’s store in Junction Mall located in Nungua a suburb in the capital city of Ghana Accra organised it’s maiden table tennis championship on Saturday 24th August 2019. 

The tournament was organised by Decathlon in their store located in Junction Mall, to promote table tennis tennis in Ghana. The operations manager Oscar indicated, as long as Decathlon remains in Ghana, sports would be alive.

Asoba foundation, a foundation geared towards the promotion of education and sports among cadets in Ghana founded and headed by Nathaniel Somuah and ably assisted by Dora Sarpong was the team which faced off with Decathlon cadet team coached by Enoch Nii Otu.

Both teams presented their male and female cadet players for the tournament which did not seize to wow spectators, and shoppers who have come to Decathlon. The competition was fierce, with Decathlon determined to host and win the male and female cadet divisions. 

At the end the spoils where shared evenly with Asoba foundation wining the female cadet division and Decathlon wining the male cadet division.

Prince Yeboah
Prince Yeboah - Winner of maiden Decathlon Table Tennis Championship (Photo Lord Kinful)

The aim of the tournament was to unearth talents and at the end a start was born. Prince Yeboah a cadet player from Decathlon emerged as the winner in the boys division. 

Prince Yeboah played Samson Innocent in the semi final, in which he won the best of three encounter by two games to one (2:1). It was a game which saw the display of wits from Samson Innocent, however met with a superior skill and aggression from Prince Yeboah. 

The final match saw Prince Yeboah triumph once again, when he won by three games to two (3:2) in a best of five encounter against Godsway Innocent.

The encounter saw both players dominate at various stages of the match. At the end the players had to play all five games for a winner to be determined.

Godsway Innocent - 2n - Runner up (Photo Lord Kinful)

Godsway Innocent of Asoba foundation exhibited the desire to emerge a champion when he played Micheal Yeboah of Decathlon in the semi final. 

Godsway won by two games to zero (2:0), to assure him a place in the final against  Prince Yeboah of Decathlon. Prince Yeboah started the final match strongly by leading by five points, however Godsway fought his way into the first game and won by twelve points to ten (12 : 10).

The second game went in favour of Prince Yeboah, who showed an improved performance by holding on to his lead to win at eleven points to five (11 : 5). 

Yeboah won the third game by eleven points to seven (11 : 7), however Godsway Innocent fought back in the fourth to win it at  twelve points to ten (12 : 10).

The fierce competition continued in the fifth and final game with Godsway Innocent serving for the game at ten points to eight (10 : 8), however the could not control his nerve, and could not convert on his serve. 

Prince Yeboah capitalised on the slip by Godsway to win the maiden Decathlon table tennis championship by fourteen points to twelve in the fifth (14: 12). 

Samson Innocent - 3rd - 2nd runner up (Photo Lord Kinful)

Samson Innocent of Asoba foundation played Prince Yeboah of Decathlon, at the semi final stage in which he lost by two games to one (2:1). 

Samson showed the ability to think and adjust his tactics during the match, however Prince Yeboah was too strong on the day, providing Yeboah the opportunity to play Godsway Innocent the senior brother of Samson. 

Micheal Yeboah - 4th - 3rd runner up (Photo Lord Kinful)

Micheal Yeboah of Decathlon, played Godsway Innocent in the second semifinal match, which he lost by two games to zero (2 : 0). 

Micheal played an excellent game, urged on by his team mates and funds and shoppers who have come to witness. However it was a day meant to be carried by Godsway Innocent.

Dr. Brookman Presents winners trophy to Prince Yeboah (Photo by Lord Kinful)

Decathlon promised to continue to support sports in the country and urged the media to join them on world clean up day 21 September 2019 in their clean up activity of three locations in the capital city namely Coco Beach at Nungua, Nima and East Legon, for sports can only be played in a clean environment.

Nigeria, Algeria halt Egypt’s dominance in doubles

Nigeria, Algeria halt Egypts dominance in doubles

Algerian Team - 2019 African Games

The dominance of Egypt in the table tennis event at the ongoing 12th African Games was halted on Monday August 26 after Nigeria and Algeria claimed gold medals in the women and men doubles event.

The rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt came to fore in the semifinal of the women’s doubles at the 12th African Games with the West African team halting the dominance of their North African counterpart.

Having ruled the team and mixed doubles events, the Egyptians were stopped from making a clean sweep of gold medal in the doubles event after they were beaten in the semifinal of the women’s doubles by Nigeria.

Nigerian pair of Edem Offiong and Cecilia Akpan were the ones that stopped Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Yousra Helmy from berthing in the final with a 3-2 (12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8) win to set up a Nigerian affairs in the final.

A comeback from Olufunke Oshonaike and Fatimo Bello against Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi and Katia Kessaci in the second semifinal was all Nigeria needed to make it to the final.

Oshonaike and Bello had to recover from 1-7 in the fourth game as they were down 2-1 (9-11, 11-8, 6-11) in major, but they held their breath to win 10 points and ended the match 11-9 to put the match at par. In the deciding match, the Nigerian ladies led from the start to finish to end the final match at 11-5 to set up a Nigerian affairs in the final.

In the final involving the duo of Offiong and Akpan against the pair of Oshonaike and Bello, it was Offiong and Akpan that claimed the title they surrendered to Egypt in 2015 with a 3-2 (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 2-11, 13-11).

In the men’s doubles final involving Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Saleh against Algeria’s Sami Kherouf and Sofiane Boudjadja, it was the Algeria that made history to win their first ever gold medal at the African Games.

To humble the Egyptians in the final, Kherouf and Boudjadja defeated Saleh and El-Beiali 3-2 (11-13, 7-11, 11-2, 6-11, 8-11) to win the first event gold medal at the African Games.

An elated Kherouf said: ” It was an unbelievable thing to happen in Algeria because we have never won gold medal in table tennis of the African Games. It was a good feeling and pleasure for us to become the first set of players to achieve this feat.”

For Sofiane Boudjadja, the victory would surely raise the profile. “I am so excited especially having been out of the game for over a year and this competition is my return to sport. I am so happy that we are achieving this feat for our country and this means more money for the sport in Algeria and many kids would be inspired to play the game. I am so happy and I believe the whole country will celebrate this feat at home,” he added.

Source : Media ATTF

Egypt beats Nigeria to Tokyo 2020 ticket

Egypt beats Nigeria to Tokyo 2020 ticket

Egyptian Team - 2019 African Games

The battle between the bigwigs in African table tennis brought out the best in Nigeria and Egypt at the 12th African Games with Egypt securing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tickets in the men and women events after emerging as the continental champions.

With this development, the Egyptian teams because the first country to berth in Tokyo and was also rewarded with two gold medals to increase the medal haul of Egypt in Morocco.

It was the Egyptian ladies that first secured their slot after beating Nigeria 3-2 in the final. The comeback of the Nigeria team was thwarted by Dina Meshref.

The Nigerian ladies were down 2-0 but spirited efforts from Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike to put the match at par with the Egyptians were thwarted by the African Champion in the fifth match which was deciding when she beat Cecilia Akpan 3-0 to hand Egypt the gold medal.

Just like it happened in the women, the same scenario played out in the men as Nigeria had to come from 2-0 down to level up at 2-2.

The sheer determination from Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo restored Nigeria into the match but Omar Assar avoided what played out in 2015 when he dismissed veteran Segun Toriola who is aiming for eight Olympic Games with a 3-0 bashing.

An excited Ahmed Saleh of Egypt described the win as important to the team.

“I am so happy that we were able to achieve our dream of avenging the 2015 loss in 2019 and I think this is the most important match for us because we had prepared very well for it in the last five months. We expected that we will meet Nigeria in the final and we were really surprised with the doubles’ line-up of Nigeria when they paired Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola because they have been playing with the pair of Toriola and Olajide Omotayo since the start of the tournament. This is very important for us picking the gold medals and securing our place at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan,” Saleh said.

For Meshref, the victory was crucial as their efforts in the last few months have been rewarded in Morocco.”I am personally so excited and for the team we are so excited winning the gold medal and most especially qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. We really prepared for this match and we knew it was going to be tough even when we were leading 2-0. We had thought we could win the match at 3-0 but we had to fight till the end. Nigeria team is not a pushover and we prepared very well for this kind of match because we had expected it. I am so happy that we have now secured our place in Tokyo,” said Meshref.


Source : Media ATTF

ITTF hails Aruna Quadri’s fighting-spirit at Bulgaria Open

ITTF hails Aruna Quadri’s fighting-spirit at Bulgaria Open

Quadri Aruna in Nigeria Open 2019 (Photo by : Lord Kinful)

He may not often challenge for titles on the ITTF World Tour, but Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna has distinguished himself by being ranked inside top 25 male table tennis players in the world.

Born and raised in Oyo, south-western Nigeria, Aruna moved to Lagos in the early 2000s after unexpectedly capturing the country’s cadet title at the turn of the century. Widely regarded as Africa’s best player of the last decade, the highly popular two-time Olympian is a man who understands that hanging in there and biding his time can pay off in big ways. Small defeats today can reform themselves, contributing to big victories tomorrow.

The philosophy came in handy this week in Panagyurishte, Bulgaria, where the 31-year-old beat Japanese superstar Jun Mizutani in seven games (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11) to reach the men’s singles semi-finals at the Bulgaria Open for the second time in three years, notching his best result on the 2019 ITTF World Tour along the way.

There were several moments in the match where things might not have gone Aruna’s way, but the player known for his incredible comebacks stood and simply refused to be defeated. Returning from match point in game seven, he evened the score at 10-all and capitalised on his opportunity, battling back from match point a second time to eventually win the game 13-11 and thus bring an end to an unforgettable contest.

Never say die might have been his prevailing attitude at the table, but when Aruna arrived in the mountain town of Panagyurishte, 90 kilometers east of Sofia, other things were on his mind.  

Exhausted by his efforts earlier this month at the ITTF Africa Cup and ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open (Aruna went on to win the latter), the prospect of playing in Bulgaria seemed like a vacation.

“I’m very tired after playing 11 days in Lagos non-stop. I said I should just come to Panagyurishte since I’m in the main draw only to enjoy myself.” Quadri Aruna, 11th August 2019

Having made up his mind to have a good time just after celebrating his 31st birthday on 9th August, enjoy himself is what Aruna did, and it was the others who suffered:

First up was China’s Ma Te, who was defeated in seven games.

“It’s difficult for everyone [playing against him]. I spoke with my colleagues that have faced him before and their advice allowed me to manage this match and win it. I have not played him before but those who did told me about the spin in his racket that I was able to play a little bit against him.” Quadri Aruna, 15th August 2019

Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong was the next victim, suffering the same result. That set up the quarter-final duel against Mizutani, which proved just as strenuous as the others. With his back to the wall during match point in the seventh game, Aruna could have capitulated and admitted defeat. But he’s a fighter; Rocky-like, something had hardened in him. 

“Point after point I get more and more tired because he is a defender, but of course I’m here to enjoy myself and play without any kind of pressure.” Quadri Aruna, 17th August 2019

The semi-final loss to China’s Zhao Zihao has in no way dented his spirit. Aruna looks to the future. As always, it’s his to shape.


Source : 

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation

2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open: Let the GAMES Begin

2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open: Draw

Photo by : Lord Kinful

The draw for 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigerian open was made on Tuesday 6th August 2019 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall in Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos Nigeria,

The competition is scheduled to commence on Wednesday 7th August 2019.  The executive chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission assured the ITTF of the continues support of the Lagos State towards the ITTF Nigerian Open.

The tournament started seven years ago, and this year has seen an upgrade of the tournament to a Challenge Plus event. Players who would participate in the even would gain more points due to the elevated status of the tournament.

Aruna Quadri, who is ranked number one in this years tournament and the defending champion, promised to defend his title and urged his supporter to come out in their numbers to cheer and witness this years show piece.

He ended by thanking the local organizing committee for a good work done in organizing the Nigerian Open each year for the past seven years.

A total of hundred and seventy one (171) players from thirty two (32) countries registered for this years event. Hundred and five (105) are male players and sixty six (66) are female players. Players would compete in the following events :

  • Men’s Singles
  • Women’s Singles
  • U21 Men’s Singles
  • U21 Womens’s Singles
  • Men’s Doubles
  • Women’s Doubles
  • Mixed Doubles

These players would share a money pot of USD 60,000.00, with the winners in the men’s and women’s single walking away with USD 7,000.00 and increase in from last year.

Join us at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, for what promises to be a five days of exciting Table Tennis, which would see players become cult hero’s and others ruining missed opportunities.