Oshonaike wins African title... 24 YEARS after her first

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The 41-year-old Nigerian veteran first won the African title in 1992 and her last triumph came in 2002 before her triumph at the ITTF-Africa Championships in Agadir, Morocco.

Oshonaike faced younger opponent Dina Meshref, from Egypt, who has dominated African table tennis in recent years, in the women’s final. It was Oshonaike who made the better start, moving ahead 2-0, before Meshref responded to bring the score level to 2-2. However, age proved to be just a number as Oshonaike won game five and six to clinch the title 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7.

After winning the emotional title, Oshonaike stated: “This victory means a lot to me that I can still become African champion despite my age. It shows that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

“I feel great and I am so excited that I can still do it and this is also an inspiration for girls that no matter your age, you can achieve whatever you want to in life.”

In the men’s singles, Egypt’s Omar Assar won the African title for the second time in a row.

The Men’s singles finals match-up between Assar and Quadri Aruna, from Nigeria, was also one that many were looking forward to due to Aruna’s historic run to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games quarter-finals.

The match did not disappoint, with the African stars producing a seven-game thriller, with Assar able to hold his nerve to win 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9.

After claiming his second consecutive title, Assar stated: “It was really a crazy match because against Quadri, it is always very exciting. I gave my 100 percent concentration and I was listening more to my coach.

“I think Aruna played very well because he was always changing service and he was more aggressive on his forehand. I am so happy retaining the title and I hope I can play better than this in future tournaments.”

Aruna did not go home empty-handed, teaming up with Nigerian team-mate Segun Toriola to defeat the Egyptian pair Lashin El-Sayed and Ahmed Ali Saleh to clinch the men’s doubles title.

Egypt dominated the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events with Dina Meshref partnering her cousin Yousra Helmy to win the women’s doubles title, and also winning the mixed doubles event with Omar Assar.

Egypt completed a memorable African Championships by claiming both the Men’s & Women’s Team titles to add to their success in the individual events.

All attention now turned to the 2016 ITTF World Tour Hybiome Austrian Open, to be held on 9-13 November 2016 in Linz, Austria.

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Lebesson makes history at the ITTF-European Championships

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No. 14 seed Lebesson was a rank outsider heading into the event, with no one expecting the 28-year-old to have a chance at the prestigious title. In another piece of history, Lebesson played his compatriot Simon Gauzy in the first ever there was an all-French final.

Lebesson who was too good for Gauzy, in what was surprisingly their first ever match against each other, and prevailed 14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 to arrest the title.

After his victory, Lebesson stated: “I did not start the match very well and that is the last thing I wanted to happen, if you gave Simon the chance to lead, he will just increase the pressure.

“At the end of the opening game, I managed to win only one point on my service. Later Simon recovered, but I raised my game to higher level. From the third game I played the best table tennis of my life. It was incredible match!”

Lebesson is only the second ever Frenchman to win the men’s singles title at a European Championships, while Gauzy becomes the country’s first ever silver medallist.

In the women’s tournament Turkey’s Melek Hu became the 2016 European champion.

The sixth seed beat Portugal’s Fu Yu, the No. 9 seed, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 in the final to claim her first European crown.

It was one of the most comprehensive performances in the history of the Women’s Singles event at a European Championships. The 27-year-old surrendered just five games on her way to the title, in addition to the one game lost in the final.

“I am happy the way I played today. I am not afraid of the penholders anymore. I was confident and I had a good feeling for the ball,” stated Hu.

The mixed national association combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the No. 7 seeds, won the European Championships men’s doubles title.

At the final hurdle they beat the Polish combination of Jajub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak, the No. 6 seeds, to win an emotional title 4-11, 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10.

“We don’t have much experience and that’s why we were little nervous in the final. To be honest, the last time I played in a final was in 2010. Dyjas and Gorak played very well too. It was hard to keep them under the control,” stated an ecstatic Groth.

Somewhat surprise finalists, the German pair of Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter emerged as the winners of the women’s doubles event.

In an all-German final, the No. 7 seeds accounted for compatriots Xiaona Shan and Petrissa Solja, the second seeds, in a full distance seven games contest 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 11-9.

Husband and wife, Portugal’s Joao Monteiro and Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean created history by becoming the first ever married couple to become mixed doubles European champions.

“I started this journey with Joao as my colleague, when we faced great pressure he acted like my husband. The support helped,” stated Monteiro-Dodean.

The duo, seeded fourth, recovered from a 0-2 deficit at the final hurdle to beat Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm, the third seeds, in five games 5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.

All attention now turned to the 2016 ITTF-African Championships being held on October 24-30, 2016 in Agadir, Morocco.

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Ask A Pro Anything - Wong Chun Ting

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Watch as the world number seven sits down to answer fans; questions taken directly from Twitter, with no subject taboo.

Wong Chun Ting won his first doubles title on the ITTF World Tour in 2012 and won another three doubles titles in 2014. In 2015, he won a bronze medal in mixed doubles event with Doo Hoi Kem at the World Championships, while in 2016, he won a bronze medal in singles event at the Men's World Cup.


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