Quadri, Meshref Emerge Top Seeds At Lagos ITTF World Tour

 Aruna-QuadriAs the highest world-rated players listed for the competition, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Dina Meshref have been seeded the top players in the men and women singles events of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour tagged Lagos Open.

In the seeding list released by the world table tennis ruling body, ITTF, Quadri, who is rated 32 in the world rankings, is seeded number one while his arch-rival and defending champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar is seeded number two while Assar’s compatriot, Mohammed El-Beiali is number three.

The absence of Nigeria’s Segun Toriola may have paved the way for El-Beiali, who defeated Quadri in the quarterfinal stage of the ITTF Africa Senior Championships to be seeded number three in the tournament.

Also listed in the top eight seeding list of the men’s singles are Portugal’s Andre Silva, Nigeria’s Boboye Oyeniyan, Egypt’s Khalid Assar, Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo and Togo’s Mawussi Agbetoglo.

Last year’s runner up and ITTF Africa Senior Championship winner, Dina Meshref leads the women’s top four seeding list. Nigeria’s Funke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong are seeded two and three respectively while Russia’s Irina Ermakova is seeded fourth.

In the U-21 seeding, defending champion in the boys’ category, Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo, is seeded number one, while other players listed in the top four seeding list are Egypt’s duo of Shady Magdy and Mahmoud Fathy as well as Nigeria’s Italy based Olajide Omotayo.

Egypt dominated the girls’ U-21 seedings with 20 year-old Meshref topping the seeding list. Her compatriots, Fatma Alaa and Yousra Helmy, also made the list while Funke Hassan is the only Nigerian in the top four seeding.

Nigeria Outclass Egypt in ITTF Men’s Doubles Event

table-tennis_Aruna_QadriTeam Nigeria have halted Egypt’s dominance at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Senior Championship, putting up an impressive display in the the men’s doubles event.

The Egyptians have so far won three gold medals in some of the events concluded, but were denied a fourth after top seeds El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Ali Saleh suffered defeat at the hands of Nigeria’s Makanjuola Kazeem and Quadri Aruna, the no.4 seeds (9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9).

In the second semi-final game, Nigeria’s duo of Ojo Onaolapo and Jide Ogidiolu, the no.11 seeds, swept aside Egypt’s Khalid and Omar Assar, the no.2 seeds (7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 11-2).

“I think we communicated a great deal during the match and we did not allow them to attack”, said Ojo Onaolapo. “I just told my partner not to be under pressure and ensure he put the ball on the table because I realised that they cannot cope with my topspin play; we were very focused.”

According to Kazeem Makanjuola: “Before the competition, I had said I want to come and beat the Egyptians and thank God it has become a reality”.

It was a fine effort but of course he had very good support; his partner has stunned the world in the past six months.

“Quadri Aruna told me to play short whenever possible and see what comes next; I did that and it worked well”, added Makanjuola Kazeem. “I am so happy that we were able to break the Egyptians dominance of the competition in this doubles and we hope for more in the singles.”

It was the exact reverse in the same round of the Women’s Doubles event where Olaide Atinuke and Olufunke Oshonaike, the no.6 seeds, suffered a heart breaking seven games defeat against Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing and Onyinyechi Nwachukwu, the no.2 seeds (6-11, 11-9, 13-15, 11-7, 11-3, 7-11, 13-11).

The defeat came after Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem, the no.4 seeds, had been beaten by Egypt’s Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Dina Meshref, the top seeds (11-3, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 12-10, 15-13).

“I think we played better after we won the first game; they started to raise their game and we lost concentration, after being two-nil ahead”, said Dina Meshref. “We figured out that they were rushing us, we slowed down the game and this gave us an edge to win.”

Nigeria’s Quadri To Represent Africa at 2014 ITTF World Cup

ITTFThe International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Nigeria as one of the countries to participate at the 2014 World Cup.

Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri would represent Africa in the Men’s World Cup taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany on October 24 to 26.

Quadri secured qualification during the maiden African Top 16 Cup that took place in Lagos and the Nigerian would be making a second appearance at the tournament after his debut at the 2009 edition in Moscow, Russia.

For the women’s World Cup, Egypt’s Dina Meshref would be Africa’s representative when the tournament serves off in Linz, Austria on October 17 to 19.

The International Table Tennis Federation has confirmed that 20 women and 20 men would compete at the two events holding next month.

The players qualified for the prestigious World Cup events through their exploits at Continental Competitions, which simply means only the best of the best can compete.

Other players that earned automatic qualification to play in the 2014 World Cup were the current World Champions, Jike Zhang of China and Xiaoxia Li of China, while the two lucky players to receive a wildcard into the events are Greece’s Panagiotis Gionis and Romania’s Elizabeta Samara.

Some of the top stars competing at the 2014 World Cup include Olympic bronze medallist, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who will be aiming to win his first Men’s World Cup, judging by the home support he would enjoy in Dusseldorf.

Ovtcharov would be the locals’ favourite to win the Men’s World Cup, as would Austrian Liu Jia in the Women’s World Cup.

Liu qualified by sensationally winning the DHS Europe Cup earlier, and would be keen to take that strong form to Linz where she hopes to win a medal.

Asides Nigeria’s Quadri, other players competing in the men’s World Cup are China’s Jike Zhang, Greece’s Panagiotis Gionis, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, Denmark’s Michael Maze, France’s Adrien Mattenet, Russia’s Alexander Shibaev, Germany’s Timo Boll, India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, China’s Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, Japan’s Matsudaira Kenta and Hong Kong’s Tang Peng.

ITTF African Junior Championships: Nigeria Wins Silver, Bronze as Egypt Reigns

Osendukwu and OjomuNigeria on Thursday won silver and bronze in the team events at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-sanctioned African Junior Championship as Egypt’s dominance continues.

In the team event of the Junior and Cadet divisions, Egypt won all the gold medals, leaving two silver medals for Nigeria in the girls’ category, as the West African country also settled for bronze in the mixed doubles.

To win silver, Nigeria fell 3-1 to Egypt in the final of the junior girls’ team event, while the Nosiru Bello team also conceded defeat to the Egyptians in the cadet girls with same margin.

Another opportunity for the Nigerian team to play in the final was also denied, when the quartet of Esther Tosin Oribamise and Olasunkanmi Oginni as well as Ajoke Ojomu and Joseph Osendukwu failed to run over the Egyptians in the semifinal of the mixed doubles event.

In the doubles event, Nigeria could not move beyond the quarterfinal stage as the Egyptians again stopped them.

On the medal table so far, Nigeria is still trying to catch up with Egypt and they are closely followed by Tunisia and Congo Brazzaville.

The tournament holding in Cairo has more than 10 countries from the continent taking part, with the host – Egypt claiming the top spot in all the events.

The singles event served off on Thursday with the preliminary matches, while the finals of all the singles will end the tournament same day in Cairo.

Mixed Fortunes for Nigerian Players at Kuwait ITTF World Tour

Nigerian players at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, tagged Kuwait Open started their campaigns on mixed fortunes.

Aruna Quadri recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky, while Kazeem Makanjuola lost by the same score line to Frenchman Benjamin Brossier.

Quadri who played in Group Nine didn’t find his rhythm at the beginning against the Southpaw Egyptian, but eventually won the first game at 13-11. The next three games went in his favour at 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 to record an impressive 4-0 win.

To decide the winner of the group, next opponent for the Nigerian is Russia’s Alexey Liventsov, and if the Portugal-based player wins the match that will be played on Thursday, February 13, he will progress to the main draw.

On the other side, things did not go as planned for his compatriot, Makanjuola, who is making his debut in an ITTF World Tour losing 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 to his French opponent. His last group match will be against Portugal’s Joao Monteiro.

The winner of the 32 groups in the qualifiers will advance to the main draw to confront the top 32 seeded players. The players are looking to obtain World Tour Series Standings points to qualify for the $1m World Tour Grand Final to be held later in the year.

For Quadri, the victory against the Egyptian would surely motivate him against his next opponent.

“I did not play like I expected before the match. I won, but I was not on top of my game. The reason is just that it has been so long I took part in an international tournament. I was expecting a tougher challenge from the Egyptian but I was fortunate because he did not play well also,” he said.

The Kuwait Open is a super series event on the ITTF World Tour, which is the top of the three tiers (super, major and challenge). Six gold medals will be at stake – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, men’s U-21 singles and women’s U-21 singles.

The Kuwait Open is the first Super Series event of 2014 and second World Tour event of the year after the Hungarian Open, which was a challenge series event.