At 41, Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh becomes the first Africa para table tennis player to be featuring in five Paralympic Games after the world number 11 avenge her group loss to Nigeria’s Isau Ogunkunle in the final of the men’s Class Four on July 1, 2019, to secure the continental sole slot to Tokyo 2020.
From the group stage of the 2019 Africa Para Table Tennis Championships holding in Alexandria, Egypt, where he lost 2-3 to the Nigerian, Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh who is current African champion knew that it would not be an easy ride to Tokyo.
Having put the group stage defeat behind him, Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh went to work to ensure he set another clash against the unseeded Nigerian.
Being the last match of the session, Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh and Isau Ogunkunle gave the fans something to cheer as both players sized up each other to the admiration of the fans. Even when Isau Ogunkunle was trailing Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh, it was clear that the match would go into full length.
With applause greeting every point won by the Egyptian, the final game made some of the fans to sit at the edge of their seat and without any doubt the win received a rousing applause from the home fans.
For five minutes every activity at the Olympic Club Hall was standstill as the victory was celebrated in a big way by the home fans including the President of Egypt Table Tennis Federation (ETTF), Moataz Ashour.
An elated Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh admitted that this has been the toughest qualification for him having featured in previous four Paralympic Games.
“I am so excited that I will be going to my fifth Paralympic Games in Tokyo but I must admit that it was a difficult route for me this year. My opponent is a good player and I think he is still young and can still make it to the Paralympic Games. But generally, this has been the toughest qualification for me and I am so happy that I will becoming the first African para table tennis player to compete in five Paralympic Games,” Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh said.
From the 14 athletes that qualified for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Egypt picked eight slots, Nigeria picked five while Tunisia secured one slot.
Source: ITTF Africa