Bode Abiodun became the first Nigerian to bite the dust in the men’s singles event of table tennis at the 12th African Games holding in Rabat, Morocco.
After the exit of Abiodun, Cecilia Akpan, Ajoke Ojomu, Fatimo Bello and Taiwo Matti also played their last matches at the multi-sports championship.
Abiodun’s exit from the tournament was made possible by the superb performance of Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw who to avenged his quarterfinal loss to Aruna Quadri at the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup in Lagos a few days ago.
From the start of the match, it was clear that Diaw knew what he wanted and he followed to the latter event when Abiodun was having an edge in most of the games.
Abiodun was leading 8-3 in the first game, but Diaw won nine points to defeat the Nigerian 11-8.
The same scenario panned out in the second game and the Senegalese capped it up. And without much ado, Diaw demystified Abiodun 4-0 to book a place in the last 16.
Unlike Abiodun who could not win a set against the Senegalese, Akpan put up a good show against Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou but her over-reliance on her shot cost her the tie. And Akpan was also humbled by the Cameroonian 4-1.
Ojomu and Bello became their enemies in the encounters against their Algerian and Egyptian counterparts. Despite leading 3-1, Ojomu and Bello squandered their lead to surrender to their opponents at 4-3.
Mati, the youngest member of the Nigerian team was taken through the basics of the game by veteran Egyptian star, Ahmed Saleh with a 4-0 bashing by the experienced opponent.
But the likes of Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo, Segun Toriola, Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike worked their way into the last 16 and quarterfinal rounds of men and women events.