•Women’s title lost to Egypt
Nigeria yesterday fought hard against Egypt in the men’s final of the ITTF African Championships to defeat the North Africans 3-1 and qualify for the 2019 ITTF World Team Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
The women’s team were unlucky as they fell 1-3 to the Egyptians in the final to concede the Tokyo slot to the Egyptians.
Aruna Quadri boosted Nigeria’s confidence with a close 3-2 win over Ahmed Saleh.
But the Egyptians levelled up with Mohammed El-Beiali beating Bode Abiodun 3-0 to put the encounter at 1-1.
Old warlord and team captain Segun Toriola turned the tide against the Egyptians with a crucial comeback against Khaled Assar. Assar was dominating from the start but Toriola’s experience was handy as he rallied back to win the encounter at 3-2 and give Nigeria a 2-1 lead.
What Quadri started was completed as the ITTF Nigeria Open champion fought well against Egypt’s El-Beiali with a 3-2 win for Nigeria to qualify for the World Team Cup.
A disappointed Saleh told NationSport that it was painful, especially Assar’s loss to Toriola. “I am so disappointed that we could not retain our title because we had thought we could pick the third game against Toriola. I am not too happy but that is table tennis and we will come back to fight again,” Saleh said.