by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Some 600 fans gathered in the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium to celebrate; a special birthday cake having been organised by the local organising committee to mark the occasion.
“I am surprised with this honour and I feel happy that they honoured me and I hope this can spur me on to win my first title at the ITTF Nigeria Open.” Quadri Aruna
A surprise and earlier in the day, it had been a surprise for South Africa’s Danisha Patel, the quality of the play and the atmosphere being something of an eye-opener.
“I am surprised with the kind of support the fans have been giving the players particularly the number of them present at the venue. I was surprised that we could have that kind of number of people coming to the venue on the first day. They support good table tennis and they really understand the game. It is my first time in Nigeria and I am excited that the environment was very conducive for the players. I wish more Nigerians can play more in South Africa, as this will really boost the standard of the game in South Africa.” Danisha Patel
Enjoying the occasion but on the first day of play in the Women’s Singles event, it was mixed fortunes for Danisha Patel; she was beaten by Russia’s Irina Ermakova (11-4, 13-11, 11-4, 12-10) but recovered to overcome the host nation’s Rofiat Jimoh (11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7).
One more match remains in the group; she faces Esther Orabamise, like Rofiat Jimoh from Nigeria.