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African Games

Nigerian-born Player Shines For Congo As Top Guns Hit African Games Table Tennis Quarter-finals –

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Nigerian-born Player Shines For Congo As Top Guns Hit African Games Table Tennis Quarter-finals -

As the table tennis singles event hit the quarter-finals stage at the African Games in Accra Ghana, one major revelation has been the Nigerian-born Saheed Idowu who is competing for Congo Brazzaville.

He is really shining for Congo as he ended the dream of Tunisian teenage sensation Wassim Essid with a 3-0 win.

He is just one of the three table tennis players that Nigeria has lost to Congo.

 

The others, though no longer active,  are Saka Suraju and Onyinyechi Nwachukwu. As the table tennis serves off, the big guns are however proving their mettle.

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The top guns in African table tennis – Quadri Aruna, Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Hana Goda all sailed through to the quarter-final stage .

Aruna, a two-time silver medallist had to work hard to defeat Algeria’s Stephane Quaiche 3-1 in an explosive match on the centre table.

The 2015 champion Omar Assar of Egypt wasted no time in dismissing Algeria’s Sami Kherouf 3-0.

Also, men’s singles defending champion Olajide Omotayo of Nigeria was ahead of Tunisia’s Kalil Sta with a commanding 3-0 win.

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Also Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali also Algeria’s Maheidine Bella 3-0 to hit the last eight.

Khaled Assar of Egypt also joined the league of top players in the last eight with a dominating 3-0 win Tunisia’s Youssed Ben Attia, while Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw edged out bespectacled Mohammed Shouman 3-1 to qualify for the last eight of the men’s singles.

The women’s singles quarterfinal was dominated by Egypt as Meshref, Yousra Helmy, Hana Goda and Mariam Alhodaby picked their places in the last eight.

Nigeria’s only surviving player Offiong Edem beat Mariam Alhodaby 3-0 while Esther Oribamise fell 3-1 to Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou.

Algeria’s Lucie Mobarek and Lynda Loghraibi also sailed through to the quarterfinal.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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African Games

A milestone as Egypt becomes the first country to get 100 gold medals in African Games

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A milestone as Egypt becomes the first country to get 100 gold medals in African Games

As the curtain is drawn on the 13th African Games in Egypt, the traditional overall winners, have this time hit a milestone.

They have become the first to hit a 100 gold medal mark in the 59 year history of the games.

As at Saturday morning, they have amassed 101 gold medals, 54 more than that of the second placed Nigeria

The biggest star of the Egyptian team  is swimmer Marwan Elkamash, who won five gold medals in the men’s 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 4x200m relays, all in freestyle.

But medal haul is still short that that of his compatriot, Faten Afifi who fished out seven gold medals from the pool.

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Nigeria’s Amusan and Brume shine in athletics

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Nigeria’s Amusan and Brume shine in athletics

The 2023 African Games come to a close on Saturday after two weeks of intense competition in Accra, Ghana, with Egypt emerging as the best team by far and the athletics competition providing a stunning spectacle in the final week.

Accra is hosting a the 2003 African Games from 4-23 March, with a remarkable organisation and Egypt crowned as the best team, just six gold medals short of the astonishing milestone of 100 titles. Will they reach it in the final competitions of the event? 

As is the case with the Olympic Games and in the Panam Games, the final week of competition is time to enjoy with athletics, a sport that usually brings African countries great success at every major event such as the Olympics or the World Athletics Championships. 

Ethiopia, for example, went into the athletics competition with no gold medals after 14 days of the Games and now has five, just like Kenya, which has won five of its six African titles in athletics.

Over the past two days, two world-class stars and big favourites for Accra 2023 have been crowned African champions to raise the level of competition. They will also be competing for Olympic glory at Paris 2024: Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume, both from Nigeria. 

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Nigeria’s Amusan burst onto the scene when she set a new world record in the women’s 110m hurdles with a time of 12.12, eight hundredths better than the old record set by USA’s ‘Keny’ Harrison. She also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in 2022.

After a difficult year in 2023, when she missed three anti-doping tests (she didn’t test positive) and received a suspension that was later lifted, and a sixth place at the World Championships in Budapest, Amusan came to Accra as the overwhelming favourite and she didn’t disappoint.

The Nigerian was the fastest in the semi-finals with an easy mark for her (13.03) and won the final in 12.89, almost a second slower than her world record time. It was her fifth African title (three in the 100m hurdles and two in the 4x100m relay) and she will be competing for glory at Paris 2004 against the USA’s Harrison and Nia Ali, and Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho Quinn, the reigning Olympic champion.

Also from Nigeria, Ese Brume is one of the best long jumpers in the world, with a bronze medal at the last Olympic Games, a silver at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in 2022 and a bronze in Doha in 2019. She also won silver at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 2022 and came to Accra as a three-time African champion and two-time Commonwealth champion.

After a disappointing sixth place finish at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the Ijebu-Ode native was the most high-profile athlete in the long jump final at Accra 2023, and she didn’t disappoint despite the opposition she faced.

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With the best jump ever at the African Games, surpassing the old record of 6.79 set by South Africa’s Janice Josephs in 2015, Brume jumped 6.92 to show she is ready to take on the likes of USA’s Tori Tara Davis and Jasmine Moore, Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta and Germany’s Malaika Mihambo at the Stade de France in August. Burkina Faso’s Mathe Jasmine Koala took silver with a remarkable jump of 6.81

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African Games

Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

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Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

Nigeria’s second position at the African Games is already sealed as the curtain falls on the delayed Accra 2023 tonight. As usual, Egypt are the runner-away leaders with an amazing 52 gold medals more than that of second-placed Nigeria.

Overall, Egypt have 187 medals as against Nigeria’s 121 as at close of competition on Friday night.

This Saturday, there are contests in just three disciplines – Cricket, Tennis and Volley ball. Nigeria will be involved in only women’s final, playing against Egypt.

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