African Cup: the Nigerian team starts on a good note

…as Edem, Oshonaike faces awkward ties

Nigeria’s representatives in the ongoing 2022 ITTF Africa Cup Table Tennis Championship started on a high note as they all recorded big wins on the first day of competition at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall , at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, reports The PUNCH.

Their wins boosted their chances of picking the continental berths at the 2022 Table Tennis Worlds, which takes place in Chengdu, China, from September 30 to October 9, after reaching the round of 16 of the competition.

Aruna Quadri defeated Hamidou Sow (11-4, 11-6, 11-6) and Saheed Idowu (11-2, 11-8, 11-8) in straight sets in their first two matches, finishing Group winner 1 and will face Algerian Abdelbasset Chaichi in the round of 16 on Friday (today).

In Group 4, Bode Abiodun advanced to the next round after beating Congo’s Dryche Kanga and Algeria’s Aissa Belkadi 3-0 respectively. Abiodun beat Kanga (11-5, 11-2, 11-1) and Belkadi (11-3, 11-6, 11-7) to take the lead.

He will face Derek Abrefa of Ghana in the round of 16.

In Group 5, Olajide Omotayo leads the group after three wins. He beat Gedeon Kassa (11-0,11-0, 11-0), Atarou Assou (11-7,12-14,11-4,11-4) and Derek Abrefa (11-0, 11-7, 11 -7), and awaits the Algerian Aissa Belkadi in the next round.

On the women’s side, Offiong Edem beat Ghana’s Cynthia Kwabi 3-1 (10-12,11-5, 11-4, 11-8) in her first match, before outclassing Togolese Reine Lodina 3-0 (11 -0, 11-0,11-0).

She finished Group 4 with four points and will compete with Algerian Lynda Loghraibi.

In Group 5, Funke Oshonaike also recorded victories in her first matches against Tunisia’s Maram Zoghlami 3-2 (11-2, 6-11, 12-14, 11-4, 11-5) and Kenya’s Sejal Thakkar 3-0 (11-0, 11-0, 11-0).

The seven-time Olympian topped her group with four points after two wins and faces a tricky tie against Salie Aka.

Fatimo Bello, who lost her opening set to Egypt’s Dina Meshref 3-1 (11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6), bounced back to beat Ghana’s Eva Adom-Amankwa in three straight sets (11-7,11-5,11-5). She faces Zoghlami in the round of 16.

In Group 2, Ajoke Ojomu finished second with three points after registering a win and a loss. Her round of 16 opponents is Sarah Hanffou of Cameroon.

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