Alwande Sikhosana of South Africa and Morocco’s Najwa Awane were victorious in the men and women’s singles respectively in the wheelchair tennis category at the just ended African Paralympic games.
The sporting event took place at the Eden Height Sporting Complex in Accra earlier this week.
The 23-year-old South African athlete was confronted by fellow countryman Leon Els in an exciting final as he quested to secure gold in the inaugural African Paralympics wheelchair tennis.
It was the young Alewande Sikhosana who toppled Leon Els with a 6-2,6-4 win to clinch gold in the men’s singles final.
Prior to the showdown between the pair, the South Africans had teamed up earlier to defeat Morocco’s Lhaj Bouckartacha and Said Himan 6-4, 6-2 to win gold in the men’s doubles.
Sikhosana’s heroics put up in the men’s singles meant he had earned an automatic qualification spot to next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris.
Meanwhile, Moroccan pair Najwa Awane and Samira Benici showed professionalism and courage as the duo put their emotions behind and took to the court to battle for supremacy despite their homeland being struck with a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake within that time frame. The disaster ended the lives of thousands of people in Marrakech, leaving the country in a devastating and mournful state.
Najwa Awane would return to Rabat with a gold medal in the Women’s singles as she out fought her compatriot and won both sets by 6-1 and 6-2.
The pair later combined to heave up the flag of Morocco when they out-witted Kenya’s Phoebe Masika and Jane Ndenga by 6-2, 6-2 to claim all sets and win gold in the Women’s double.
Elsewhere, Nigeria’s team of Foluke Shittu and Kafayat Omisore defeated Tanzania’s Lucy Shirima and Rehema Selemani by 7-5, 6-4 to take all sets in the third-place match after being initially ousted by the formidable Moroccans in the semifinal.
Story by: Andrews Sefa Bamfo | univers.ug.edu.gh