Nigeria’s Offiong Edem and Bode Abiodun worked their way into the main draw of the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open after their stunning victories on Thursday in the preliminary round of the singles event.
Edem, who is competing in her first tournament in readiness for the double tournaments holding this month in Tunisia as her performance against Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova confirmed her readiness for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
Despite going down 3-1 (8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 16-18) in the tie, Edem regained her composure to record a convincing win over the European with 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 win to claim a 4-3 win coupled with a passage to the main draw of the women’s singles.
Like Edem, Abiodun is also competing in his first major tournament this year started well from the first round of the preliminary when he took down Scotland’s Niall Cameron 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6) to et up a second round tie against Germany’s Cedric Meissner.
But the German gave Abiodun a tough challenge when he took a 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 5-11) lead but the Nigerian international regained the lead to win the last three games at 11-7, 13-11, 11-9 to complete a 4-2 victory and sealed his place in the main draw of men’s singles.
Edem and Abiodun will join their compatriot – Olajide Omotayo who is already seeded in the main draw for their campaigns which serve off on Friday February 14 in the elite stage of the competition.
But what started well for teenage sensation – Taiwo Mati in his debut in international senior tournament came to an end on Thursday February 13, as he fell to England’s Tom Jarvis 4-0 (4-11, 2-11, 5-11, 5-11) in the second round of preliminary. Mati had on Wednesday pummeled Guyana’s Miguel Wong 4-0 (11-5, 18-16, 11-4, 11-1) to pick some ranking points from the tournament.
Unlike Mati who sailed to the second round of the preliminary, Ismaila Akindiya was nowhere that stage as he was beaten early by Switzerland’s Lars Posch 4-1 (11-6, 1-11, 10-12, 3-11, 6-11) to make an early exit while Ganiat Aruna was no match to Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin after the former national junior champion fell 4-0 (1-11, 7-11, 4-11, 2-11) to the Italian star.