TABLE TENNIS: Gold Rush For Dominant Nigeria At ITTF African Junior Championships

Nigeria marked its return to the African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships after a two-year absence with a dominant performance as they recorded a clean sweep of all gold medals in all three categories of the boys’ team event at the 2019 edition of the tournament in Ghana.

Nigeria finished the team events at the tournament with five medals in total after the girls’ team bagged silver medals in the Junior and Cadet categories.

Egypt had reigned supreme in the boys’ category in Nigeria’s absence, but the return of the West African powerhouses saw power shift hands as the Nigerians dispatched Tunisia in the U21 and Cadet finals and saw off Egypt in the Juniors.

Nigeria particularly impressed in the Junior boys’ finals where the trio of Azeez Solanke, Emmanuel Augustine and Jamiu Ayanwale put up a masterclass in dominance and didn’t surrender a single game to the Egyptian team in a heavily one-sided affair.

Azeez Solanke spared no charity in walloping Ahmed Elbhoramy (11-7, 11-6, 11-7), before Jamiu Ayanwale dispatched Marwan Abdelwahhab (13-11, 11-9, 11-5), and Emmanuel Augustine wrapped up proceedings with a comprehensive (11-3, 11-9, 11-6) defeat of Abdelrahaman Dendan. Tunisia claimed the bronze medal following a 3-0 whitewash of Togo.

In the U21 Men’s team event, Azeez Solanke, Taiwo Mati and Emmanuel Augustine combined to overcome the Tunisian trio of Youssef Ben Attai, Aboubaker Bourass and Louay Hamrouni 3-0 to claim the title. Egypt finished in third place after they defeated Algeria 3-0 in the bronze medal match.

Taiwo Mati and Jamiu Ayanwale then combined to vanquish the Tunisian duo of Youssef Abid and Khalil Sta in the Cadet category to claim gold. Egypt took bronze with a 3-0 victory over Algeria. 

There was a measure of revenge for Egypt however as they got their pound of flesh in the girls’ category when they beat Nigeria in the Junior and Cadet finals as they recorded a clean sweep of their own. 

Sarah Abousetta, Alaa Yehia and Sara Elhaken defeated the Nigerian trio of Sukurat Aiyelbegan, Vivian Oku and Iyana Oluwa Falana in the Juniors while Farida Badawy, Hana Goda and Rouaa El-Naghi proved too strong for Sukurat Aiyelbegan and Sadiat Alimat Akeem in the Cadet final.

Egypt also claimed the U21 title with Mariam Alhodaby, Marwa Alhodaby and Hend Fathy combining to beat the Algerian team of Sannah Lagsir, Hiba Feredj and Loubna Djedjik. Tunisia claimed bronze with a 3-1 victory over South Africa.

Tunisia finished in third place in both the Junior and Cadet events with victories over Mauritius in the former and Algeria in the latter.

With the team events now concluded, attention now turns to the singles which serve off today. The tournament concludes on Saturday, 13th April.