LAGOS – An exhausted Omar Assar says he wants to “catch my breath” as he cannot “play three tournaments together in such a high level” and will, therefore, miss the ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open to recuperate well enough for the African Games in Morocco later this month.
Assar defeated compatriot Ahmed Ali Saleh 3-2 [10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 9-11, 11-3] in a tight and gripping final at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos to win a third Africa Cup title on Monday.
Prior to that victory, he’d also won gold as part of the ENPPI team at the African Club Championships which held at the same venue and with the Africa Games which also serves as qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo less than two weeks away, the 28-year old says he prefers to save from a burnout before the games commence on the 19th of August in Morocco.
“I cannot play three tournaments together in such a high level, I would like to take a break and catch my breath and to start again preparing for Morocco,” Assar declared after winning the 2019 Africa Cup with which he secured a place at the 2019 Table Tennis World Cup in Chengdu, China in October.
And speaking about expectations for the Egyptian table tennis contingent to the games, Assar would only say his side will “stay together” and “play like a team” but expects a tough challenge from countries such as Nigeria and Senegal.
“The African Games is very hard now we have Senegal, they’re in the show and have a strong team, and of course we have plenty of respect for the Nigerian team, they have Quadri Aruna, he’s a world star and now [Olajide] Omotayo is also playing well, [Bode] Abiodun and so many other players and so it’s very hard to expect something from the All African Games.
“But what I can just focus is on our performance. We stay together, we play like a team and this is what we can promise,” Assar said.