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วันเสาร์ที่ 27 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2553

Ahmed Ali Saleh and Sarah Hanffou Crowned Champions in Yaoundé


Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh and the host nation’s Sarah Hanffou won the respective Men’s and Women’s Singles titles at the ITTF-African Championships in the Cameroon capital city of Yaound้, to bring matters in the five day tournament to a close on Friday 26th November 2010.
Ahmed Ali Saleh, the Men's Singles winner at
the 2010 ITTF-African Championships
Photo By: Courtesy of Lekan Okusan

At the final hurdle Ahmed Ali Saleh beat compatriot Omar Assar to secure the Men’s Singles title for the third time in his career; whilst Sarah Hanffou overcame Nigeria’s Offiong Edem to clinch Women’s Singles gold.

Unexpected
It was for Sarah Hanffou her first ever title at an African Senior Championships and a first ever for Cameroon; the win could not have been more appropriate.

“I never expected I would beat Nigeria’s Edem Offiong in the final because I had been told that she is one of the best players in Africa; however, when she won the first two games, the fans really inspired me and this put lots of pressure on my opponent”, reflected Sarah Hanffou. “I think the fans really contributed to my success today and I want to thank all Cameroonians for supporting me throughout the match.”

Great support but of course Sarah Hanffou responded to that support; she delivered.

Toughest Match
“The toughest match was against Congo Brazzaville’s Han Xing; it was very difficult for me to come back from three-one down and carry the day”, continued a delighted champion. “I am indeed happy that I made my country proud.”

Undoubtedly for both Sarah Hanffou and Cameroon it was a proud day.

Careless Mistakes
Delight for Sarah Hanffou but Richard Edem, the coach of Offiong Edem was not too enamoured with the performance of his player.

“I think Edem Offiong was careless because I told her to play to her opponent’s forehand but she kept playing to her backhand which is her major weapon”, he explained. “At the beginning she was playing to instructions and in the third game, which she should have won, she lost; this gave the Cameroonian lots of confidence, for me I don’t think the fans had anything to do with the victory, it was just that my player was careless.”

Success for Egypt
It was gold for Cameroon, silver for Nigeria but in the other three finals to be contested on the concluding day of action it was gold and silver for Egypt.

In addition to the victory of Ahmed Ali Saleh over Omar Assar in the Men’s Singles final, Emad Moselhi partnered Omar Assar to Men’s Doubles victory against El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Ali Saleh; whilst in the Women’s Doubles final, the paring of Nadeen El-Dawlatly and Sara El-Sokary overcame Sara Hassan and Reen El-Shobary.

A Return after Surgery
“I am very happy to have won this competition, having returned to the game after a six months layoff because of surgery; it is my first competition after returning to the game, I am indeed very happy to win this title again”, said Ahmed Ali Saleh. “It was a bit difficult for me in the final playing against my teammate, because we had been training together before the event and we both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses; of the previous titles I have won at the African Championships, I think this is the most difficult.”

Delighted Teenager
A more than delighted Ahmed Ali Saleh and equally there was a delighted Nadeen El-Dawlatly.

“I cannot believe that we won at my first African Senior Championships and winning a gold medal is very encouraging”, said the Egyptian teenager. “Indeed I am very happy that I collected a gold medal in these Championships.”

More than Consolation
Certainly the success for Nadeen El-Dawlatly was another step forward whilst for Emad Moselhi, the Men’s Doubles success was more than consolation.

“Most definitely, I am very excited about winning the doubles event after losing narrowly to Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri in the singles”, said Emad Moselhi. “After losing the singles event, I was able to calm myself and concentrate on the doubles; I’m delighted to have won the gold medal.”

A Proud Day for Cameroon
Gold for Emad Moselhi in a tournament where the Egyptian male players were dominant; as for the women, Nigeria, Egypt and Congo Brazzaville all demonstrated their prowess but at the end of the day, the heroine was Sara Hanffou.

Three titles for Egypt on day five but the day belonged to Sarah Hanffou, the day belonged to Cameroon.

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