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Aruna, Meshref reclaim ITTF Africa Cup title

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Quadri Aruna and Dina Meshref reclaimed the ITTF Africa Cup title after winning the 2024 edition at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

Aruna, the top seed still fresh from his exploits at the WTT Saudi Smash, was again unstoppable with a commanding win in the final against Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali.

The one-sided final saw Aruna effortlessly take down the Egyptian with a 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-3) win to emerge as the new Africa Cup champion after losing the title to Egypt’s Omar Assar in 2018.

“There was never an easy win in any competition, and I am happy that I gave my best and my best resulted in the victory. It has always been in me not to give up, even when I am down, and I am happy that all my hardwork paid off with the victory. I must commend Rwanda for providing good facilities and their hospitality for us, the players, and I look forward to returning again to this beautiful country,” World No. 19 said.

Like Aruna, Meshref was at her best after coming back from 2-0 down to defeat her compatriot, Mariam Alhodaby, 4-3 to become the new Africa Cup champion after losing the last two editions in the final.

A relieved Meshref described the victory as crucial, particularly coming back from injury. “I am happy that I was able to come back, especially coming back from an injury I sustained before the tournament. I must thank my family and my mother, who sacrificed to be with me in Rwanda. It was a tough win for me here in this beautiful country of Rwanda, and I will cherish this moment for a very long time to come,” she said.

The tournament has over 50 players from 14 countries taking part as players brace up for the African Olympic Qualification Tournament, which begins on May 16 and ends on May 18.

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Table Tennis President Hails Edem, Bello, Omotoya’s Qualification For Paris Olympics

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The trio of Offiong Edem, Fatimo Bello and Jide Omotayo have been commended for qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in France.

The commendation was made by the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Ishaku Tikon while expressing his Joy over the players qualification.

Tikon who is also the 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said the trio are among the best table tennis players Nigeria can boast of as at today hence their qualification did not come to him as a surprise.

He described their well deserved victory in Kigali, Rwanda, a testimony of hardwork, determination, perseverance and resilience, that showed that they were really hungry for it.

It would be recalled that Offiong Edem, Fatima Bello and Jide Omotayo picked their Paris 2024 Olympic Games tickets at the last window of the African Table Tennis Qualifiers held at the BK Arena, Kigali, Rwanda that ended at the weekend.

With Edem and Omotayo picking their tickets on the first stage of the tournament, the story was not the same in the case of Bello who had to wait till the second stage before gaining her ticket.

She outclassed Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi 4-2 to claim her ticket having failed to qualify at the first stage following her lost to Sarah Hanffou of Cameroon.

She came back stronger in the second and final stage of the women singles qualifiers to pick the sole ticket thus joining Edem and Omotayo on the train to Paris Games.

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Lagos Govt Hosts Africa’s Scrabble Champion, Enoch Nwali

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As part of the efforts of the State Government to continuously encourage sports development and provide an enabling environment for budding talents and elite athletes to thrive, Director General Lagos State Sports Commission, @lf_champ hosted current Africa’s and national scrabble champion, Enoch Nwali and members of his team in his office at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on Thursday.

Fatodu spoke eloquently on the significance of promoting sports at the grassroots level while encouraging Nwali not to rest on his oars in breaking more boundaries and not to deviate from the terrain in dominating the world of Scrabble.

The Team, led by the Chairman, Lagos State Scrabble Association, Engr.Dipo Akanbi with the current Africa’s and national champion in “Green Jacket” Enoch Nwali, to apprise the Director General on the development in the sports of Scrabble.

” Lagos is actually blessed with a lot of talents in different areas. What we are positioned to do is essentially to continue to inspire, encourage and motivate our athletes across the disciplines”, the DG stated, adding that the state is constantly engaging the skills, talent, capability and ability of the young people to actually explore and dominate their various places across the globe.

He further noted that Lagos is taking the lead in Scrabble, adding that Enoch and his team’s achievements will further serve as motivation and inspiration to many of their contemporaries.
“We’ll also make make effort to ensure that they get the well-deserved recognition at the highest level of authority in the state.

The critical investment and contributions of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in sports talents development in Lagos is actually producing even more than desired results in terms of positive outcome we are getting”, he concluded.

In his remarks, Chairman of Lagos State Scrabble Association, Engr. Dipo Akanbi lauded the state for being supportive in terms of monthly payments and other incentives.

Enoch Nwali, the current African and national champion, was discovered in Ketu, Lagos, during his Secondary School days.

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Para Badminton: Bolaji, Chigozie qualify for Paris 2024 Paralympics

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The duo of Mariam Eniola Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have qualified for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games coming up from 28th

The duo of Mariam Eniola Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have qualified for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games coming up from 28th August to 8th September.

According to the Badminton World Federation, Multiple African Champion, Mariam Bolaji will represent Nigeria in the Women’s Singles Standing Lower 3 (SL3) while Jeremiah Chigozie represents Nigeria in the Men’s Singles Standing Lower 4 (SL4).

An elated Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria said the qualification of Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie is a testimony of hard work, consistency and perseverance.

Orbih who was full of joy revealed that Nigeria stands a good chance to make history by winning medals in para badminton in her debut appearance.

He said, “Today, history has been made as two players for the first time will be representing Nigeria in the para badminton event at the Paralympic Games. I am full of joy because the sacrifices of the players and the Federation were not in vain.

“Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have consistently attended the African Championship winning gold medals in the singles and doubles events. Last month, Mariam Bolaji won two gold medals at the Spanish Internationals in Victoria and Toledo putting her in a better position to make it to the Paralympics; which has become a reality.

“With adequate camping, foreign tours and proper funding, I believe Nigeria will win a medal in the Para Badminton event when we make our debut this year”.

Orbih once again, called on well meaning individuals to support the Badminton Federation of Nigeria in ensuring the athletes get maximum support ahead of the Olympic/Paralympic Games in Paris next August.

He said, “I will not get tired of calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the private sector to key into our brand and give more support to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria. We have athletes who are marketable and will sell their brands to the world with their sterling performances”.

Mariam Eniola Bolaji shocked the world by winning her first gold medal at the Spanish Para badminton International 2021 beating Oksana Kozyna from Ukraine.

Bolaji won the women’s singles SL3 at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023, All African Para Badminton Championship 2023 (Doubles and Mixed Doubles).

She won gold medals at the 5th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2023, Egypt Para Badminton International 2024, World Para Badminton Championship 2024 in Thailand and Spanish Para Badminton International 2024.

Bolaji is also the first African player to be ranked among the top 10 in the BWF world rankings as she is currently ranked number 5 in the world.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Chigozie won bronze medal at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023 and three gold medals at African Para Badminton Championship 2023

He played a lesser number of championships compared to Eniola; playing in Egypt, Dubai, and World Championship in Thailand.

Chigozie got to the quarter finals in the men’s singles SL4 category in Thailand and currently ranked number 16 in the recent BWF para Badminton ranking.

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