The battle between the bigwigs in African table tennis brought out the best in Nigeria and Egypt at the 12th African Games with Egypt securing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tickets in the men and women events after emerging as the continental champions.
With this development, the Egyptian teams become the first to berth in Tokyo and were also rewarded with two gold medals to increase the medal haul of Egypt in Morocco.
It was the Egyptian ladies that first secured their slot after beating Nigeria 3-2 in the final. The comeback of the Nigerian team was thwarted by Dina Meshref.
The Nigerian ladies were down 2-0 but spirited efforts from Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike to put the match at par with the Egyptians were thwarted by the African Champions in the fifth match, which was decided when Meshref beat Cecilia Akpan 3-0 to hand Egypt the gold medal.
Just like it happened in the women, the same scenario played out in the men’s as Nigeria had to come from 2-0 down to level up at 2-2.
The sheer determination from Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo restored Nigeria into the match but Omar Assar avoided what played out in 2015 when he dismissed veteran Segun Toriola who is aiming for his eight Olympic Games with a 3-0 bashing.