Top table tennis title contenders in Africa, Quadri Aruna, Ahmed Saleh, Omar Assar, Mariam Alhodaby, Hana Goda and Dina Meshref on Thursday enjoyed a smooth ride during the Day One of the ITTF Africa Cup at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
As the top seeds are gunning for the knockout stage of the three-day tournament, Aruna was not really tested in his group as he recorded 3-0 wins over Senegal’s Hamidou Sow and Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu.
Saleh was made to work harder for his victory over Cameroon’s Ylane Batix. Despite claiming a close 2-0 (11-8, 14-12) lead over the younCameroonian, Saleh was tested in the third game as his opponent won 11-9.
In his usual style, the Egyptian veteran made use of his experience to work his way back to victory with a 12-10 win to sail through to the knockout stage after walking over Congo DRC’s Exauce Ngefuassa.
Assar, Goda, and Meshref all booked their places in the knockout.
However, Olufunke Oshonaike was tested by Tunisian teenager Maram Zoghlami with the match ending 3-2 (11-26, 6-11, 12-14, 11-5, 11-5) to book a spot in the last 16.
Offiong Edem also sailed through to the knockout round while Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci joined the league of the bigwigs in the round of 16.
Nigeria’s duo of Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun also secured their places and they will be joined in the last 16 by Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali.
In the women’s singles, Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou sailed through and despite losing one of their group matches, Nigeria’s pair of Ajoke Ojomu and Fatimo Bello made it to the last 16.