It is an All-Team Nigeria final in the Men’s Doubles event at the 2015 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-Africa Senior Championships in Cairo on Wednesday evening.
No. 4 seed duo of Kazeem Makanjuola and Aruna Quadri sprang up a huge 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 upset against Egypt’s top seeds El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Ali Saleh in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Onaolapo Ojo and Ogidiolu Jide, seeded 11th in Cairo, ousted another Egyptian duo of Khalid Assar and Omar Assar, the No. 2 seeds, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 11-2, to complete an All-Nigeria showdown, scheduled for 19: 15 local time (5:15 Nigerian time) today.
The host nation was on the verge of completing a clean sweep of titles, before the Nigerians snapped their momentum. Having added the Mixed Doubles title (beat Congo Brazzaville) to their gold medals in the Men’s Team (beat Nigeria) and Women’s Team events, the Pharaoh’s hit bottle neck, all thanks to the brilliance of the Nigerian quartet who now must eliminate one another in the best of seven games for the championship.
“Quadri Aruna told me to play short whenever possible and see what comes next; I did that and it worked well”, explained Makanjuola on his partnership with reigning ITTF Athlete of the Year. “I am so happy that we were able to break the Egyptians dominance of the competition in this doubles and we hope for more in the singles.”
It was not all plain sailing for Nigeria either, following their ouster in the semi-finals stage of the Women’s Doubles event.
The partnership between 6th-seeded Olaide Atinuke and Olufunke Oshonaike suffered a 6-11, 11-9, 13-15, 11-7, 11-3, 7-11, 13-11 defeat in the hands of Congo Brazaville’s Han Xing and Onyinyechi Nwachukwu, the no.2 seeds.
Earlier on Tuesday, No. 4 seeds Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem were beaten by Egypt’s top seeds Egypt’s Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Dina Meshref 11-3, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 12-10, 15-13.