* Toriola, Oshonaike, Edem bow out of singles events
Aruna Quadri yesterday restored Nigeria’s hope in the table tennis event of Rio Olympic Games after beating Slovakia’s Yang Wang 4-1 in the men’s singles. Earlier, three other Nigerian table tennis players, Segun Toriola, Olufunke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem had all failed to progress to the next rounds of the men and women’s singles.
An elated Quadri said after the match: “My first match against Wang Yang was so very difficult. I found it difficult to read his spin of the ball. When defending, I made several mistakes. It is difficult to really feel settled against him. His forehand attacks were tough for me. I have played him twice before and on both occasions, I lost. I am happy that I won the match here today.”
Today, Quadri is expected to battle against world number seven, Chinese Taipei’s Chih-Yuan Chuang in the third round match of the men’s singles.
However, Egypt’s Omar Assar met his waterloo yesterday as the former African champion surrendered a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 to Ukraine’s Lei Kou in the second round match of the men’s singles.
Meanwhile, Toriola’s outing in the table tennis event of the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympic Games ended yesterday after the record making African was beaten by Japan’s Niwa Koki in the men’s singles.
Despite his exit, the world table tennis ruling body, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has planned to organise a befitting send forth for the Nigeria in Rio to mark his Olympic feat of seven appearances at the Olympic Games. He is the first African to achieve the feat.
Toriola who is ranked 120 in the world, had on Saturday August 6 bundled out Czech Republic’s Dimitrij Prokopcov in the first round. He defeated Prokopcov with a 4-2 defeat (8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).
However, in the second round tie against the Japanese ranked 22 in the world, Toriola fell 11-9, 5-11, 7-11, 11-4, 6-11, 1-11 (4-2) to end his men’s singles medal quest.
In the women’s singles event, Nigeria’s duo of Olufunke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong were shown the exit in the first round after they put up good performance in the preliminary round.
Oshonaike fell to Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz 4-2, while Edem Offiong was edged out by Belarus’ Pavlovich Viktoria 4-1.