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How Nigeria, Algeria halted Egypt’s table tennis dominance at African Games

The dominance of Egypt in the table tennis event at the ongoing 12th African Games was halted on Monday after Nigeria and Algeria claimed gold medals in the women and men doubles event.

The rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt came to fore in the semifinal of the women’s doubles at the 12th African Games with the West African team halting the dominance of their North African counterpart.

Having ruled the team and mixed doubles events, the Egyptians were stopped from making a clean sweep of gold medal in the doubles event after they were beaten in the semifinal of the women’s doubles by Nigeria.

Nigerian pair of Edem Offiong and Cecilia Akpan were the ones that stopped Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Yousra Helmy from berthing in the final with a 3-2 (12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8) win to set up a Nigerian affairs in the final.

A comeback from Olufunke Oshonaike and Fatimo Bello against Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi and Katia Kessaci in the second semifinal was all Nigeria needed to make it to the final.

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Oshonaike and Bello had to recover from 1-7 in the fourth game as they were down 2-1 (9-11, 11-8, 6-11) in major, but they held their breath to win 10 points and ended the match 11-9 to put the match at par.

In the deciding match, the Nigerian ladies led from the start to finish to end the final match at 11-5 to set up a Nigerian affairs in the final.

In the final involving the duo of Offiong and Akpan against the pair of Oshonaike and Bello, it was Offiong and Akpan that claimed the title they surrendered to Egypt in 2015 with a 3-2 (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 2-11, 13-11).

In the men’s doubles final involving Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Saleh against Algeria’s Sami Kherouf and Sofiane Boudjadja, it was the Algeria that made history to win their first ever gold medal at the African Games.

To humble the Egyptians in the final, Kherouf and Boudjadja defeated Saleh and El-Beiali 3-2 (11-13, 7-11, 11-2, 6-11, 8-11) to win the first event gold medal at the African Games.

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Ben Ugbana

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