Olufunke Oshonaike reclaimed her long lost African title in the final of the women’s singles event of the ITTF African Senior Championships after beating Egypt’s Dina Meshref 4-2
The Egyptian has been unbeaten in the last two years, but Oshonaike dug deep into her table tennis experience to confused the young North African before emerge as the new number one female star in the continent.
An elated Oshonaike said she was happy that her experience came handy against the Egyptian. To emerge as the new African Champion, Oshonaike won 7-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11.
“I knew it was going to be tough because as the African champion Dina has been unbeaten in the last two year. I just told myself to go out there and have fun and show my experience and when it started working I gained more confidence,” gushed Oshonaike moments after the final.
She however added that when the match was 2-2 her coach, Segun Toriola, told her not to give up. “That was why I kept on going and it worked for me at last.”
The Nigerian ping pong queen is very excited that she can reclaim the African title at her age. “This victory means a lot to me that I can still become African champion despite my age. It shows that nothing is impossible regardless of my age. I am so happy that despite the challenges I faced coming to Morocco here I can still return to the top of the game in Africa.
She described the victory as an inspiration for girls who look up to her. “No matter your age, you can achieve whatever you put your mind into in life, I am a living testimony,” she noted.
However, Aruna Quadri’s efforts of becoming the continent champion failed as the Nigerian fell 3-4 to defending champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar in an entertaining final.
An elated Omar Assar said after the match, “It was really a crazy match because against Aruna it is always very exciting. I think I gave my 100 per cent concentration and I listened more to my coach, Helmy Ashraf. 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 tournament,” Assar concluded.