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Quadri Aruna is delighted to have ended his four wait to clinch his second African title, Saturday PUNCH reports.
The 34-year-old Nigerian came back from two sets down to beat Omar Assar 4-3 in a nerve-wracking final of the 2022 International Table Tennis Federation African championship in Algeria on Friday.
Last year, Assar had stopped Quadri’s bid to retain the title he won in Mauritius in 2018 with a sweeping 4-1 victory in Yaounde, Cameroon.
In what was the third consecutive final between the pair, it was Quadri who smiled home with the big prize despite losing the first two sets 11-8 and 11-9 to the Egyptian.
He clawed his way back into the game in the third set to win 11-8 but surrendered the fourth 11-7. The African number one then completely swept the remaining sets to win the biggest laurel in a competition that has been barren for Nigeria heretofore.
An elated Aruna described the tie as energy-sapping while he lauded his opponent for good display.
“I think I gave my all and even when I was down I did not give up. I think I just stayed focus and this worked out for me and I am happy that my efforts in Algiers paid off for me,” he said.
In the women’s singles, Dina Meshref defeated Yousra Helmy to claim her third continental crown. She beat her compatriot 4-0 in the final.
Egypt won both the men and women’s team events, defeating Algeria and Tunisia respectively.