Both players were not really tested at the ITTF Senior African Championships until the final, where both played their best match in the tournament.
Aruna won the title on a comeback after losing 2-0 against the Egyptian and came close to losing again when Assar led 3-1. But Nigeria’s tenacity and prowess came to the fore as they battled back to level at 3-3 and were leading in the final game as the tie ended 12-12.
Good shots from the Nigerian were all he needed to conquer the Egyptian and claim his first continental title since 2018. Aruna prevailed 4-3 (8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 13-11, 14-12)
An elated Aruna described the draw as a waste of energy as he praised his opponent for his fine display. “I think I gave it my all and even when I was down I didn’t give up. I think I stayed focused and this worked for me and I’m happy my efforts in Algiers paid off,” he said.
This win will surely bolster Aruna’s world ranking, while Taiwo Mati’s performance will also help her world ranking.