Nigeria finishes second at ITTF Junior Circuit in Egypt
With just four boys, Nigeria still made its presence felt at the ITTF Junior Circuit tagged Egypt Open after the West African giant finished second behind host – Egypt in the overall medal table.
As the host – Egypt dominated the event claiming gold medals in the junior events while also sharing the gold with Nigeria and India in the cadet and mini-cadet events.
In the junior team event, Egypt claimed gold in the boys and girls divisions while they also ruled in the singles and doubles.
To be named the second overall best team, Nigeria inspired by Amadi Omeh claimed one gold and three silver medals to beat India to third place. India won one gold and one bronze medals.
Egypt’s Marwan Abdelwahab and Mariam Abdelaziz won the respective Cadet Boys’ Singles and Cadet Girls’ Singles titles. Meanwhile, Rinad Fathy and Eman Taha donned the Cadet Girls’ Doubles crown with Hend Fathy emerging as the winner if the Mini-Cadet Girls’ event.
However, both the Mini-Cadet Boys’ Singles and the Cadet Boys’ Singles titles finished in the hands of visitors from foreign shores. India’s Payas Jain emerged as the Mini Cadet Boys’ Singles winner, Nigeria’s Amadi Omeh and Azeez Solanke secured the Cadet Boys’ Doubles crown.
At the final hurdle, Payas Hain beat Abayomi Animasahun (9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9) in the one title deciding contest in the whole tournament that did not feature an Egyptian player.
In the Cadet Boys’ Doubles competition Amadi Omeh and Azeez Solanke combined to secure success at the hands of the host nation’s Ammar Attia and Omar Elsafty (11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4).
Otherwise, it was success for Egypt with Marwan Abdelwahab adding to his Cadet Boys’ Team success secured earlier in the week and Mariam Abdelaziz progressing one step higher than her silver medal finish in the Cadet Girls’ Team competition.
In events dominated by Egyptian players in the latter stages, Marwan Abdelwahab accounted for Ammar Attia (11-8, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7) at the quarter-final stage, before securing his place in the final courtesy of success against Mazen Farouk (11-8, 11-8, 11-2).
A place in the title deciding contest reserved, the top step of the podium was reserved but Marwan Abdelwahab came perilously close to defeat. He trailed Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke by two games to nil, won the third game by the very narrow of margins before gaining in confidence to secure victory (8-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7).
In the opposite half of the draw Azeez Solanke had beaten Ahmed Elborhamy at the quarter-final stage (11-9, 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6), prior to ousting India’s Payas Jain (11-9, 11-9, 11-6), to reserve his place in the final.
Tense moments for Marwan Abdelwahab; it was to some extent the same for Mariam Abdelaziz.
At the quarter-final stage she needed the full five games to beat Sara Elhakem, only emerging successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (8-11, 11-5, 17-19, 11-9, 11-9). A semi-final place booked, she accounted for Waad Ibrahim (11-4, 11-7, 11-6) and Zeina Essam (11-5, 11-3, 13-11) to claim the title.
Less problematic, at the quarter-final stage Zeina Essam has beaten Farida Badawy (12-10, 11-4, 11-6) before overcoming Waad Ibrahim to reserve her place in the final (11-4, 11-7, 11-6).
Success for Egypt in the Cadet Boys’ Singles and Cadet Girls’ Singles events; also they enjoyed success in the Cadet Girls’ Doubles and Mini Cadet Boys’ Singles competitions.