Omar Assar beats Aruna Qaudri 4-3 to reclaim African Games title

As Hana Goda completes hattrick of laurels

Omar Assar reclaimed the title he surrendered in 2019 after an energy-sapping final against Quadri Aruna of Nigeria at the 13th African Games taking place in Accra, Ghana.

Assar, played his heart out against one of his arch-rivals in the continent and he prevailed 4-3 to reclaim the title to win Egypt’s second gold medals at the games.

However, Aruna’s search for his first gold medal in the Men’s singles has now been extended to the 14th edition of the Games in four years time.

Considered as the battle of two elephants, the match lived up to expectations with Aruna and Assar entertaining the fans with their superlative display but it was Assar who laughed last.

Also, at 16, Hana Goda has become the youngest player in African table tennis history to win the three titles in the continent after adding the African Games laurel to her load of titles in Ghana.

Goda, who is making her debut at the African Games dethroned her compatriot and defending champion Dina Meshref in an explosive final at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Cheered by her mother and teeming Ghanaian fans, Goda showed class and composure to overcome  her experienced opponent 4-2 to add the African Games titles to the African Cup and Championships gongs she claimed last year at the expense of Meshref.

“I can’t just believe I have added the African Games title to my laurels but I must admit that it was not easy especially with the sixth game which I won. I was a bit nervous toward the end of the match. This is the best moment of my career and I cannot just imagine myself winning in my first outing. This is a great moment for me,” Goda said.

Goda’s global fame came when she was 11 as she became the first African to be ranked No 1 in the world in the U-15 cadet category when she was 12.

In 2023, she became the youngest to win the African Senior Championship at 15.

Goda is Paris-bound with team Egypt for the Olympic Games this summer.


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