Second seeded Egyptian, Omar Assar and compatriot, Dina Meshref yesterday emerged winners in the men and women's singles of the fourth International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge, tagged Nigeria Open held at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
At yesterday's finals that had Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State in attendance, Assar defeated India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran 4-0 in the men's contest, while Meshref also gave Russia's Olga Kulikova no breathing space by beaten 4-0.
In the women's double, Hungary's Bernadett Balint and Szandra Pergel defeated the pair of Egypt's Yousra Helmy and Meshref in three straight sets of 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, while the pair of Frenchmen, Antoine Hachard and Gregoire Jean won the title beating Romania's Alexandru Cazacu and Rares Sipos 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 and 11-9.
For their efforts, both Assar and Meshref won a cash prize of $5000 each, while the runners up got $3200. Winners of the double events received $3000, while the runners up were given $1500 in both the men and women's categories.
Speaking on his victory, a delighted Assar said, "I feel wonderful for this victory. It has been a very difficult competition as many stars played this year. I am very thankful that I could perform today."
As excited by her victory, Meshref said, "I am very happy to win this title, which is my first after losing two years ago. I am happy to be able to win it this time around."
At the end of the championship, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said the tournament was hosted to develop the mental capability of the youths of the country.
"We are happy to have hosted this competition, which is the fourth edition. As you can see, this competition has actually attracted more people and many countries. The idea is to use sports as a catalyst for the growth of the economy.
"It is also a catalyst for tourism and it is our strong belief that we must continue to support sports as a means of allowing us to develop metal capability of younger ones. And Lagos State is ready to do that," he said.