By Godwin Aikigbe
Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike is delighted with her two silver medals at 2018 ITTF-African Championships despite failing to defend her Women’s Singles title at tournament concluded in Port Louis, Mauritius on Sunday.
“Though not a good outing for me and I cried bitterly because I didn’t fulfill my dreams, but in everything I still thank God and I still have a good reason to smile with my 2 silver medals. To God be the glory,” the Germany-based stated on her Facebook page in Beau Bassin, Mauritius.
Disappointed two years ago when beaten in the final by Oshonaike Egypt’s Dina Meshref regained the title won in 2015 in Cairo and concluded proceedings most successful player.
Earlier she had struck Women’s Team and Mixed Doubles gold as well as securing Women’s Doubles silver; a tournament which witnessed a clean sweep of titles for Egypt in which female players were involved.
At the final hurdle Dina Meshref beat colleague Reem El-Eraky, having on the concluding day of play at the semi-final stage ended Nigerian hopes by overcoming Offiong Edem (11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6); in the counterpart semi-final, Reem El-Eraky had accounted for Amira Yousry, also from Egypt (11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8)
“I am happy reclaiming my title again after losing it in 2016 but I must also admit that it was not easy winning; there are lots of good players particularly the Nigerians. The atmosphere in Mauritius was good for me and I enjoyed every day I spent in the country.” Dina Meshref
A second win for Dina Meshref; also by emerging successful she keeps matters very much in the family. She has two aunts who have appeared in the Women’s Singles final at an African Championships. In 1994 in Cairo, Nihal Meshref was beaten in the final by Nigeria’s Bose Kaffo; six years later in 2000 in Addis Ababa, Shahira El-Alfy emerged successful. She secured the title at the final expense of Ethiopia’s Ahmed Nebiyat.
Success for Egypt and success for a fifth time; in addition to the victories recorded by Shahira El-Alfy and Dina Meshref; Ines El-Darwish won in 1962 in Alexandria, the first time the tournament was staged, later and also in Mauritius in 2004 Bacent Osman emerged successful. At the final hurdle Ines El-Darwish beat Ethel Jacks on duty for Nigeria, Bacent Osman accounted for colleague Roaa Magdy.