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ITTF Africa Cup: Aruna Quadri last Nigerian standing as Bello, Mati fall in quarters

Nigerian veteran table tennis star Aruna Quadri is the last Nigerian left in the single’s event of the ITTF Africa Cup after he managed to reach the semifinals. Nigeria’s three other representatives, Taiwo Mati, Esther Oribamise and Fatimo Bello all crashed out in the quarterfinals.

Quadri, the 12th ranked player in the world, started his campaign in Nairobi at the ITTF Africa Cup with two wins from two in the group stage to reach the Round of 16. He faced Ivorian Don Ange Cedric Oba and won 4-0 (11-9 11-7 11-3 11-5) to reach the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, he faced Egyptian star Youssef Abdel Aziz and won 4-1 (14-16 11-7 13-11 11-7 11-5) to qualify for the semifinals.

Youngster Mati also represented Nigeria in the men’s singles category. He finished his group stage campaign with three wins from three games to book his place in the last 16. There, he faced Kenya’s Brian Mutua and came away with a 4-0 (11-1 11-9 11-4 11-6) win to reach the last eight. In the quarterfinals, he faced Madagascan debutant Antoine Razafinarivo and lost 4-2 (9-11 7-11 11-7 8-11 11-7 7-11).

In the women’s singles event at the ITTF Africa Cup, Esther Oribamise represented Nigeria. She won two of her three group stage games to reach the last 16, where she faced Mauritius’ Nandeshwaree Jalim and won 4-3 (11-7 5-11 11-9 10-12 8-11 11-8 11-1). She crashed out in the quarterfinals after facing Africa’s number one Dina Meshref from Egypt, and losing 4-1 (3-11 2-11 11-7 7-11 1-11).

Fresh from a successful outing at the West African Regional Championship, Fatimo Bello represented Nigeria in the women’s singles event at the ITTF Africa Cup in Nairobi. She won two of her three group stage games to qualify for the Round of 16. Bello defeated 13-year-old Ugandan whiz Jemimah Nakwala 4-2 (11-4 11-5 8-11 9-11 11-3 11-9) to reach the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, she faced 14-year-old Egyptian star Hana Goda, who handed her a 4-0 (6-11 4-11 7-11 5-11) defeat.

The men’s singles semifinal lineup includes Quadri, Razafinarivo, Omar Assar and Mohamed El Beiali, both of Egypt. For the women’s singles semifinal at the ITTF Africa Cup, Goda, Meshref, Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou and Egyptian Marwa Alhodaby will slug it out.

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