Winner of the men’s singles title at the just-concluded 2017 ITTF Nigeria Open, Omar Assar, is grateful for the crucial role played by Lagos fans in his triumph.
The Egyptian who made history as the first player to win the men’s singles title thrice as well as unbeaten in all his participation in the tournament is willing to return to Lagos for the competition.
To claim the title on Sunday, Assar beat India’s Sarthak Gandhi 11-6, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8 in the final to maintain his perfect record in Lagos, having now won the tournament on each occasion he has played.
“I feel very wonderful winning this competition again,” the 26-year old said.
“This competition is very special for me because it being hosted in Lagos. The fans in Lagos have been very supportive in me claiming the title. So I need to ensure I play very well because many people are waiting to see me winning the title.”
Assar, who is Aruna Quadri’s partner in men’s doubles, believes the Nigerian would return stronger following his round of 16 exit.
“Aruna Quadri and others played really well. But I am always proud whenever I and Aruna Quadri play in the final of any major event because it helps to promote the sport in Africa. Aruna Quadri is a very good player and I am sure next he will make a comeback and have better competition next time,” he said.
Also, Assar’s compatriot, Dina Meshref, defeated Russia’s Olga Kulikova 11-4, 16-14, 12-10, 11-6 in the final of the Women’s Singles.
It was the Egyptian’s third attempt at the title, and it turned out to be third time lucky, having made the quarterfinal in 2014, and final in 2015.
As Africa’s number one player, she kept continental pride and made sure the title stayed on home soil for the first time in the event’s history.
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