Table Tennis: 11 Nigerian players lose in first round of WTT Contender main draw in Lagos

IT was a tale of insipid performances by Nigerian players as 11 out of 13 of them failed to win their games in the first round of the main draw at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender Series in Lagos.

The ICIR had reported that the WTT Contender Series in Lagos began with the preliminaries stage, which featured 64 table tennis players competing for the 32 alloted slots in the main draw.

At the completion of the preliminaries stage, 32 players that qualified from that stage will join the top-ranked 32 players who automatically were at the main draw to sum up 64 players.

After the commencement of the main draw on Thursday, 11 Nigerian players could not cross the hurdles in the rounds of 32 for both men and women’s singles, and also in the rounds of 16 for both men and women doubles and mixed doubles.

Mixed doubles 

Chinese Zhou Ka and He Zhuojia defeated Nigeria’s Orok Etim and Fatimo Bello 3-0  (11 – 3, 11 – 4, 11 – 6).

Also, it was a stroll in the park for India’s Snehit Suravajjula and Diya Parag Chitale as they eased past Nigeria’s Amadi Omeh and Esther Oribamise 3-0 (11 – 4, 11 – 5, 11 – 8).

The Chinese continued their dominance as Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo and Offiong Edem lost to Xiang Peng and Liu Weishan 0-3 (8 – 11, 7 – 11, 5 – 11).

Likewise, Nigeria’s Taiwo Mati and Ajoke Ojomu lost to Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova from Slovakia 0-3 (3 – 11, 9 – 11, 4 – 11).

Men’s Singles

Nigeria’s fast rising tennis player Taiwo Mati bowed to the artistry of Germany’s Patrick Franziska 0-3 (4 -11, 1 – 11, 7 – 11).

India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar had a tough one against Nigeria’s second best rated player Olajide Omotayo, but it went in favour of the Indian player 3-1 (11 – 7, 11 – 9, 10 – 12, 11 – 8).

Women doubles

Korean Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin dominated Nigeria’s Ajoke Ojomu and Esther Orobamise 3-0 (11 – 1, 11 – 3, 11 – 3).

China’s He Zhuojia and Wang Xiaotong overpowered Nigeria’s Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem 3-0 (11 – 9, 11 – 3, 11 – 4).

Women Singles 

Korean Lee Eunhye waltzed through Nigeria’s Fatimo Bello 3-0 (11 – 6, 11 – 7, 11 – 6).

Nigeria’s Offiong Edem lost to Chinese Li Yake 0-3 (6 – 11, 1 – 11, 3 – 11.)

Turkey’s Sibel Alitinkaya defeated Ajoke Ojomu 3-0 (11 – 6, 11 – 4, 11 – 9).

Another Korean sensational Kim Nayeong also knocked out Nigeria’s Esther Oribamise in a straight set, 11 – 8, 11 – 6, 11 – 7.

Mens Doubles 

It was all Nigeria’s affair as Amadi Omeh and Azeez Solanke defeated Taiwo Mati and Olajide Omotayo 3-2 (8 – 11, 11 – 7, 11 – 8, 2 – 11, 11 – 8).

It was only Amadi Omeh and Azeez Solanke that qualified to the next round and ended their campaign in the round of 8.

Indian Jeet Chnadra and Snehit Suravajjula overpowered Akinwale Fagbamila and Joshua Oladiran 3-1 (11 – 6, 11 – 6, 7 – 11, 11 – 7).

The ICIR analysed that 12 out of the 14 games the Nigerian players played, they were unable to win a set out of five.

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The Executive Vice-President, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Wahid Oshodi, described the early exit of Nigerian players in the tournament as “underwhelming”.

Oshodi advised the NTTF to employ the services of a foreign coach that would harness the potentials of the pool of young talents in the country.

“The NTTF has a lot of work to do, I am hoping they will get a coach and I mean they need to bring in someone with international experience, especially because we have good young players. They need someone with the charisma who can lead them through,” he said.

The NTTF president, Ishaku Tikon, in an interview with newsmen, attested that the Nigerians players lost to top ranked players in table tennis.



    Tikon said, “It sounds funny that at this time of the event, all Nigerians are out. Of course, it is not out of context, it is something you are aware of; we have the world’s best here.

    “The ones that crashed out have done their best. In table tennis, if you take the wrong route, you will retire early, and this applies to all players around the world.

    “I commend those ones that are out now; they have done their best. We will go back to the drawing board. We have a few tournaments coming up at the corner, which I am sure we are going to participate in.”

    The series ends today, Sunday, June 18.

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