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Kuti, Udoaka win W’African t’tennis titles

Gabriel Ameh
3 Min Read

African Games medalists Matthew Kuti and Hope Udoaka of Nigeria showed class against experienced players as the national champions emerged as the new West African champions at the 2024 ITTF West Africa Regional Championships, which ended in Lome, Togo, at the weekend.

Over 32 men and 29 women from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and host Togo took part in four events (teams and singles for men and women) at the three-day tournament organised to select teams that will represent the region at this year’s African Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Despite not playing to his best in the team event, which allowed Togo to dethrone Nigeria as the regional champions, Kuti was flawless in the singles event, taking down some established players, including the former regional champion, Oba Oba Kizito of Ivoey Coast, in the final.

Starting his campaign in a group where he only dropped a game against Benin Republic’s Kossi Akakpo, Kuti breezed into the knockout round to right his wrong in the team event.

He took down Togo’s national champion, Kokou Fanny, 3-0 in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinal, where he edged out his compatriot, Matthew Fabunmi, 4-2 to set up a semi-final clash with the player that defeated him in the team event, Mawussi Agbetoglo of Togo.

He avenged the earlier defeat by defeating the Togolese 4-2 to reach the final, where he faced former champion Oba Oba Kizito.

Like the true champion that he has been, Kuti mesmerised Kizito with a 4-1 bashing to be crowned the new regional champion and ensured that Nigeria held on to the title, which was won by Taiwo Mati in 2023.

Udoaka held sway in the women’s singles, beating compatriot Ajoke Ojomu 4-0 to claim the title.

In the team event, Nigerian ladies led by national champion Hope Udoaka dominated without dropping a game and beat Ghana 3-0 in the final to retain the title.

But the host team gave the fans something to cheer for with a 3-2 win over Nigeria to emerge as the regional powerhouse in the men’s team event.

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