Top seed and defending champion, Aruna Quadri settled for the bronze medal at the just ended 2019 Africa Cup at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslism Balogun Stadium, Surulere on Monday.
Despite the support from partisan home crowd at the Molade Okoya-Thomas indoor sports hall of the stadium, the Nigerian table tennis star lost the keenly-contested match.
Assar, who is highly revered by the fans raced to 2-0 winning the first two games but Quadri won the third game and looked like staging a comeback. The Egyptian resisted a fightback from the Nigerian by winning the next games and recorded a 4-1 (11-6, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 11-3) to progress to the final.
Quadri had reached the semi-final after surviving a scare to overcome Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-3 while Assar avoided another defeat against Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo as the Egyptian star avenged his 2-3 loss in the Club Championship with a convincing 4-2 win.
The defeat meant that Quadri is yet to beat Assar in Lagos in his career. The ITTF Africa Cup is one of the biggest table tennis event on the continent with the winners representing the continent at the ITTF men’s and women’s World Cup.
Both Assar and Dina Meshref have qualified for the Men’s World Cup and Women’s World Cup tournaments to be held later in the year in Chengdu China.