Omar Assar says the fans played a crucial role in his triumph at the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open in Lagos.
The Egyptian made history as the first player to win the men’s singles title thrice. He is also unbeaten in all his participation in the tournament.
To claim the title, Assar beat India’s Sarthak Gandhi in the final 4-0 (11-6, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8).
“The fans in Lagos have been very supportive of me claiming the title,” Assar said. “So I need to ensure I play very well because many people are waiting to see me winning the title.
“I feel very wonderful winning this competition again. This competition is very special for me because it was hosted in Lagos.
“From the start of the tournament, there have been a lot of improvements among the Nigerians and Egyptians, while I am particularly thrilled with the performance of the Indians.”
Assar, who is Aruna Quadri’s partner in men’s doubles, believes the Nigerian would return stronger following his round of 16 exit.
“Aruna Quadri and others played really well. But I am always proud whenever I and Aruna Quadri play in the final of any major event because it helps to promote the sport in Africa,” he said.
“Aruna Quadri is a very good player and I am sure next he will make a comeback and have better competition next time.”
Dina Meshref made sure Egypt doubled down on the titles, defeating Russia’s Olga Kulikova in the final of the women’s singles.
It was the Egyptian’s third attempt at the title, and it turned out to be third time’s lucky, having made the quarterfinal in 2014, and final in 2015.