ITTF Africa Cup: Aruna leads others into knockouts

Top seeds Quadri Aruna, Ahmed Saleh, Omar Assar, Mariam Alhodaby, Hana Goda, and Dina Meshref have all secured easy passage to the knockout stage of the three-day ITTF Africa Cup taking place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

Toast of the home fans, 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 though was made to work hard for his victory over Cameroon’s Ylane Batix. Despite claiming a close 2-0 (11-8, 14-12) lead over the young Cameroonian, Saleh was tested in the third game as his opponent won 11-9.

However, the Egyptian veteran upped his game and worked 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.

Similarly, Assar, Goda, and Meshref all booked their places in the Round of 16.

Meanwhile, Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria was well tested by Tunisian teenager Maram Zoghlami. The match ended 3-2 (11-26, 6-11, 12-14, 11-5, 11-5) with Oshonaike booking her spot in the last 16.

Another Nigerian, Offiong Edem, also sailed through to the knockout phase, just as Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci also joined the bigwigs in the round of 16.

Nigeria’s duo of Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun also secured their places. They were 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 too.

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