Oribamise qualifies as Nigeria sole representative at next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Argentina after missing out of ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships in Tunisia.
Nigeria’s Esther Oribamise, Egypt’s duo of Marwa Alhodaby and Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Tunisia’s Nathael Hamdoun yesterday qualified for next year’s Youth Olympic Games holding in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
At the African Continental Qualification tournament concluded at the Palais Des Sport El-Mensah in Tunis, Tunisia, Oribamise defeated Alhodaby in the final of the girls’ singles to claim the top spot of the event in a 4-3 victory of 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 13-11.
In the boys’ category, Hamdoun, who had earlier beaten Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke in 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 at the semi final stage, lost to Abdel-Aziz in six games of 11-4, 14-16, 11-4, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2.
Speaking on her victory, an elated Oribamise, who missed the ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships, said: “I think I was ready for her but I could not just fathom what happened when I was leading 3-1 in games and 4-1 in points in the fifth game only to lose the game.
“Even in the seventh game, I was leading 8-2 and she caught up with me at 9-9, but I was calm to finish the match at 13-11. This victory and qualification for the Youth Olympic Games means a lot to me particularly after missing the ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships. I have proved a point to my compatriots that the Egyptians are beatable and they just need to believe in themselves.”
In his reaction after claiming the top spot, Abdel-Aziz said: “I am happy that I was able to repeat the feat I achieved at the 2016 edition of the ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships in Tunis this year. But this year is unique because I was able to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, which was very important to me this year.
“I am so happy that my experience in Tunis marked a new turn of things for me in my career as I look forward to the Youth Olympic Games and I will have to work hard to do well in the competition.”