Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt sweeps the table

With 32 medals, Egypt won the 2018 African Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championship, reports Abeer Anwar


Egypt’s Minster of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz has congratulated the Egyptian junior and cadet national table tennis team after they returned victorious from the African Junior Championship with a total of 32 medals: 15 gold, seven silver and 10 bronze, an unprecedented achievement for the country. Abdel-Aziz also asked all table tennis federation officials to try to spread the sport across schools and governorates.

The tournament was held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 7-14 April.

Head of the delegation Abdel-Aziz Al-Sisi said he was very happy with the achievement, the first time in Egypt’s history it has won so many gold medals in a single table tennis championship. “The players were up to the challenge and they were able to beat all their opponents, raising Egypt’s flag and singing its anthem 15 times with 15 gold medals. I am very proud of my players and I think that very soon we can win a world and Olympic medal,” Al-Sisi said.

After capturing both the junior boys and junior girls team titles, Egypt completed a clean sweep on Tuesday 10 April at the Under 21 men’s team and Under 21 women’s team.

On just the final day, Egyptians collected 15 titles for the country that leads the continent in the sport.

Egypt’s players celebrate their winnings

Youssef Abdel-Aziz emerged as the most successful player on duty. A semi-finalist earlier in the year at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg, the 18-year-old departed Abidjan with a maximum four titles to his name.

In addition to the junior boys team title, Abdel-Aziz partnered Marwa Al-Hodabi to junior mixed doubles success in addition to securing the junior boys doubles top prize in tandem with Marwan Abdel-Wahab. To put the icing on the cake he concluded matters by being crowned junior boys singles champion.

Success in four games was the margin of victory in the junior mixed doubles final when facing teammates Ahmed Al-Borami and Farida Badawi (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10). The junior boys doubles final was a victory by the same margin at the expense of Tunisia’s Nathael Hamdoun and Aboubaker Bourass (11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3). Similarly in the junior boys singles final, just one game was dropped by Abdel-Rahaman Dendan, also from Egypt (11-5, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-2).

Al-Hodabi beat Algeria’s Sannah Lagsir by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12) to claim the Under 21 women’s singles title. A testing encounter, the junior girls singles final was the exact opposite; Al-Hodabi received a walk-over when due to face twin sister Mariam Al-Hodabi.

Three titles for Mariam Al-Hodabi although it could have been more. Due to partner Marwa Al-Hodabi in the junior girls doubles final, the duo had to concede the contest when facing compatriots Farida Badawi and Sara Al-Hakem in the final.

Meanwhile, in the remaining individual events decided on the last day of action, all Egyptian finals were the order of the day.

Ali Ghallab won the Under 21 men’s singles, beating Mahmoud Helmi in the final (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10); Mohamed Azzam defeated Ziad Al-Shawa in the cadet boys’ singles decider (11-1, 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7), whilst in the cadet girls singles, the top of the podium was reserved for Hend Fathi. In the final she beat Sara Al-Hakem (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Undoubtedly a successful experience for Egypt but also for Côte d’Ivoire. An ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament followed by the African Junior and Cadet Championship proved most worthy undertakings.

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