Nigerian ladies crash out of table tennis singles


It was a day of mixed fortunes for Nigeria in table tennis on Saturday as its women crashed out of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Olufunke Oshonaike, who a day earlier had won her preliminary round game failed to advance further later in the day as she lost to her Italian opponent in the first round.

Both Oshonaike and Offiong Edem had been drawn to play in the preliminary round of the event on its opening day.

Oshonaike had success against her opponent, Neda Shahsavari of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the morning at the Excel – North Arena 1, winning 4-3 in a 33-minute game.

After losing the opening game 11-13, she braced up to the challenge to win the next two games 11-8 for a 2-1 lead.

But her 25-year-old opponent rallied back to draw level with an 11-9 win, for a ding-dong affair that saw Oshonaike going 3-2 up with an 11-4 win and the Iranian drawing level with an 11-5 win.

However, the 36-year-old closed the game with an 11-3 win and advance to the first round.

Edem on her part while playing later at the same venue failed to stand toe-to-toe with her Egyptian opponent to lose 2-4 after a six-game match that stretched over 27 minutes.

Eighteen-year-old Dina Meshref won 11-5, 2-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-3, after 25-year-old Edem failed to take her chance in their fifth game.

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But Oshonaike could not keep up the momentum she had in the morning as she lost 0-4 to 39-year-old Chinese-born Tan Wenling of Italy in their first round pairing later in the afternoon.

She lost 7-11, 5-11, 10-12, 1-11 in a 20-minute game to keep out Nigerian women from the competition.

In the men’s singles, Segun Toriola had also raised Nigerian hopes by winning his preliminary round match against 20-year-old Andre Ho of Canada.

He came from a set down to win 4-1 after 37 minutes, with a scoreline of 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 and he was up against Swede Jorgen Persson later in the day in the first round.

It was also a good day at the office for Quadri Aruna, Nigeria’s second male entrant in the event and who had drawn bye into the first round.

The 23-year-old took his chances against his older opponent to win 4-2 after 35 minutes and advance into the second round.

After a 6-11 opening loss, he reversed the scores in the second game, lost 11-3 in the third, won at 13-11 at the rubber in the fourth for a 2-2 draw after four games.

He then went a gear higher to win the next two games 11-8, 11-6 and won a place in Sunday’s second round against Turkey’s Bora Vang.

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