Paralympian internet sensation Hamato visits Nigeria

To compete at Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open in Lagos

Team Egypt - Ibrahim Hamato

Rio 2016 Paralympian and internet sensation, Ibrahim Hamato will be part of the Egyptian team coming to Nigeria for the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open holding on December 19 to 21 in Lagos.

Hamato, 44 is an Egyptian Para table tennis Champion, winning several honours over the years, including the silver medals in the African Para table tennis Championships in 2011 and 2013.

Hamato lost both his arms as the result of a train accident when he was 10 that in an interview with CNN the Egyptian said “In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer that’s why I played both. It was logic to play soccer first due to my case; then I played table tennis as a challenge.

Hamato has also won an appreciation award under 6th Edition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for the category of athlete who achieved success in sports despite major humanitarian challenges after earning second place and winning the silver medal during the African Para table tennis Championships in December 2013.

According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the presence of Egyptian team who are one of the top playing nations in Africa would add glamour to the tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“We are excited to have Hamato in Lagos because he has been an inspiration to a lot of people across the world and we believe his presence in Lagos would again inspire special athletes to aim high despite their challenges. It promises to be exciting and we cannot wait to have some of the top teams already confirmed for the championship in Lagos. Preparation is ongoing to ensure a hitch-free tournament and we believe hosting this kind of the competition will put Nigeria on the world map and give our players the chance to test might with some of the best in Africa in readiness for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan,” Odebode said.

Over N10.8m ($30,000) will be at stake as players compete in 44 titles in singles and team events.

Source : ATTF

West African Champions to emerge

West African champions to emerge

KIZITO Oba

New king and queen of West African table tennis will be crowned today at the on-going the maiden edition of the ITTF West Africa Challenge, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

The two-day tournament, which is being held at the Multipurpose Hall in Trenchville, Abidjan, is hosted by the Federation of Ivorien Table Tennis (FITT) with support from ITTF.

Thirty-Eight 38 players – 21 men and 18 women – started the race for the two top prizes at stake.

No upset was recorded in the group stage as all the seeded players worked their way into the knockout stage. The eventual winners in the men and women events will emerge at the end of today’s finals.

A satisfied Deputy Secretary General of FITT, Ali Kanate described hosting the tournament as a good development for Cote d’Ivoire, particularly for the growth of table tennis in the country.

His words: “I am so excited that within a short time, we were able to stage this tournament. Mobilising all the teams was a challenge but with the huge support from ITTF, this was sorted out and we have 11 out of the 15 countries that made up the region.

“The usual bottlenecks synonymous with the first day were there but we believe we have learnt from hosting this competition. This has again shown our ability to stage major competitions, having hosted the 2018 World Junior Circuit and African Junior Championship successfully,” Kanate added.

The Supporters’ Club of the National Football Team, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, were on hand to dazzle the fans with their colourful display at the match venue.

Oba Oba Kizito was the star of the night on Saturday November 2 at the Multipurpose Hall in Trenchville, Abidjan as the 24-year-old Ivorien gave the home fans something to cheer in an entertaining quarterfinal tie against Nigeria’s Augustine Emmanuel.

Kizito seeded number three in the men’s event came from 3-2 down to rally back and put a smile on the faces of the fans with his out-of-this-world performance.

An excited Kizito said: “I am so happy with the huge support from the fans because their support really inspired me even when I was 2-3 down. It was indeed a massive support for me and I look forward to such in the semifinal. When the match was 2-3, I knew if I could come back and I can win. The fighting spirit and the huge support from the fans were the ingredients I needed to overcome my opponent. I am happy to make my country proud and I am urging the fans to come out enmasse and support me in the semifinal.”

SOURCE : Media Attf

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

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