Kyrgyzstan hosts inaugural Challenger Cup whilst National Challenger Series gathers momentum in Africa
Kyrgyzstan hosted its first-ever Challenger Cup last weekend (13 March), with 16 doubles teams competing in a historic event in Bishkek. Athletes from Kyrgyzstan were joined by representatives from Russia, South Korea and Switzerland, but it was Kyrgyz duo Islam Daiirbekov and Daniel Maasaliev who took home the gold medal.
Meanwhile, FITEQ’s National Challenger Series continued to gather momentum in Africa, with Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast hosting their first rounds last weekend (13-14 March). In Sierra Leone, there were 12 athletes competing in the singles, and 11 teams in both the doubles and mixed doubles categories. In Ivory Coast, it was a weekend to remember for Stephane Danho after he became the country’s first National Challenger Series singles champion.
Following a victory over his doubles partner Ibrahima Diawara 2-1 (12-10, 8-12, 12-10) in the semi-finals, Danho showed impressive consistency to defeat Rodolphe Cassemiro Beaka in an enthralling final. He looked set to add a doubles gold to his collection after he and Diawara triumphed over Beaka and his partner Jaures Kouassi in the semi-finals. However, Fidel Koffi and Elias Koko were intent on spoiling the party and they did so in style, taking home the gold with a 2-1 (12-6, 10-12, 12-5) victory.
Diawara managed to avenge the loss to Koffi in the mixed doubles final, as he and Maimonua Coulibaly defeated Koffi and Jessica Okou to reach the top of the podium. The victory meant Diawara ended the weekend with a gold, silver and bronze medal, whilst Danho and Koffi both took home a gold and silver medal.
The last competition of the weekend was in Djibouti, which hosted its second National Challenger Series event. Following an impressive display in Round 1 on 27-28 February, Abdourazak Yacin Bouh secured a second successive singles gold. After a comfortable 2-0 (12-7, 12-2) victory over Idriss Abdirahim Ali in the final, Yacin Bouh is on track to secure his place in the 2021 Teqball World Championships. In the doubles category, Ahmed Daher Bouh and Yacin Hassan Okieh defeated Doualeh Houssein Ahmed and Mouktar Youssouf Saad 2-0 (12-4, 12-9) to join Yacin Bouh in adding a second National Challenger Series title to their collection.
Competitions around the world continue this weekend (20-21 March):