After an eventful 5 days of world class tennis performance, the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open 2017 came to an end today as the Egyptian contingent went home with 4 of the 5 awards available to them.
Having already witnessed numerous upsets on Day 4, all the semi-finalists coming into the final day were deserved winners. And with the likes of Funke Oshonaike, Aruna Quadri, Olah Benedek, Li Ping, Hachard Antoine, Shetty Sanil and co all defeated, it looked like we were going to have a borefest but it was far from that as the Molade Thomas Okoya indoor sports hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium came alive in no time.
Of all the final day action, the match which Nigerians earnestly waited for was the men’s single semi-final match between unseeded Bode Abiodun who defeated Aruna Quadri (1) and Shetty Sanil (9) en-route the semis and India’s Gandhi Sarthak. The match did live up to expectation as the crowd was in loud voice supporting and cheering Bode on against the Indian who was seeded 16 for the tournament. Sarthak raced into a 3-0 lead against Bode who refused to go down without a fight. It was win or burst for Bode in the 4th set and he did take it. Bode also went on to take the 5th and 6th set as the match was tied at 3 sets apiece. At this point, the crowd was fully urging Bode on but the Nigerian finally surrendered in the 7th set after complaining of a back injury which he sustained on Day 4 of the tournament.
Bode (NGR) in action against G. Sarthak (IND)
Afterwards was the women’s doubles finals between Balint Bernadett and Pergel Szandra (HUN) AND Dina Meshref and Helmy Yousra (EGY) which the Hungarians won by 3 straight sets. The doubles winner and runner-up (male and female category) walked away with $3,000 and $1,500 respectively.
B. Bernadett and P. Szandra (HUN) AND M. Dina and H. Yousra (EGY) receive their prizes
In the men’s doubles finals, France’ Hachard Antoine and Jean Gregoire came from a set down to win the match by 3 sets to 1 against Sipos Rares and Cazacu Akexandru of Romania. While this was on the executive Governor of Lagos State, His excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode walked in to witness the finale of the 2017 Nigeria Open.
H. Antoine and J. Gregoire of France AND S. Rares and C. Akexandru with their prizes
Surprisingly, the singles finals was more straight forward than expected as two-time finalist and Africa’s no 1 female table tennis player, Dina Meshref (EGY) defeated Kulikova Oliga (RUS) in 4 straight sets in the females singles category to win the female’s singles ITTF title and the sum of $5,000 while Oliga went home with $2,300.
As for the men’s singles final between Omar Assar (EGY) and Gandhi Sarthak (IND), the story was the same as Omar defeated Sarthak in 4 straight sets to win his 3rd Nigeria Open title and the sum of $5,000 while Sarthak went home with $2,300.
Also, Egypt’s Helmy Mahmoud won the Premier Bet fair play award while Funmi Ajala and Taiwo Matthew were rewarded with $200 each for the best home-based performance in the tournament.
More pictures from the final day of action …