African Games: Nigeria, Egypt share gold in table tennis team events
Nigeria shared medals with its arch-rivals, Egypt in the table tennis teams events, for men and women at the ongoing 11th African Games in Brazzaville.
Nigeria defeated Egypt 3-2 in the men’s category, but lost the women’s team events’ title to Egypt by the same margin.
Team Nigeria led by ageless Segun Toriola, put up brilliant performance to take the lead. He defeated Africa’s number one, Omar Assar and El-Beiali to ensure 3-2 victory for Nigeria.
Toriola was indeed, unbeaten in all the matches played in the team events. “I am proud that we won the title this year because looking at the roll of honours, Nigeria has won the African Games’ title more than any other country in Africa.
“So I am very happy that we were able to retain the title we won four years ago in Mozambique. This goes to show the Egypt is improving and our generation has really worked hard for this success,” he said.
Toriola said that the victory would spur the team for more gold at the Games. “I think the competition has just started with this victory, because we still have five medals to fight for.
“But prior to the match I told my teammates that we should have confidence, even when we were 1-2 down in the majors.
“I knew that if I had to beat Omar Assar I would need to be confident and to play without being too caution. If I was to play without being too cautious so as not to make mistakes.
“I think it was the confidence in the team that gave us the victory,” he said.
Aruna Quadri, Africa’s number two, said the defeat of Egypt was a sweet one. “In our last meetings he defeated me but I could remember that I had also beaten him twice.
“But today (Sunday), I found answers to him because we play same style and he believes my style suits him. I am so grateful to God that I was able to find answers to Mohammed El-Beiali tonight.
“This is a big victory for us after our women team narrowly lost to Egypt earlier,” Quadri said.
In the female category, tactical discipline gave victory to the Egyptians.
It was victories by Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly that gave victory to Egypt. The team had trailed Nigeria, 1-2 but eventually ended 3-2 in an epic final.
“This is not the first time I will be playing the deciding match but my coach told me to concentrate. I must say that it was more difficult for me during the match.
“I remained focused. I am happy that I won the match for my country. I feel good winning the title again and I am now strong mentally,” EL-Dawlatly Nadeen said.
The doubles events will start on Tuesday.