by Wade Townsend
Italians define authority
Authority, from the Latin auctoritas. It defined one’s level of influence in Rome. Well, the Italians certainly have shown their influence and power in Lagos. The nation leads the way in both the Men’s and Women’s Singles. Giorgia Piccolin and Alessandro Baciocchi both made it through day one of qualification without a scratch, winning their matches in straight games.
The Indian team had a long trip to Lagos, but luckily they remembered to pack their A-game. No games were dropped on the opening day of matches. In the Women’s Singles, Reeth Tennison, the number two in her group, played like an athlete that new she was destined for the main draw. Tennison demonstrated her superior technical skills as she carved a path to victory against Nigeria’s Halima Hussain. It’s a team that won’t be easily bowled over.
Rain on the parade
It wasn’t all a carnival for the Italian contingent. Italy’s John Oyebode was the top player in action in the Under 21 Men’s Singles, but his opening game didn’t follow the script. Nigeria’s Nurudeen Hassan seemed to call on the power of the home crowd to secure an upset win in his opening match. It was in straight games too. But Oyebode may be thinking what could have been. The Italian got off to a slow start, going down 11-5. But after that it was minute margins; 11-9 and 12-10. What a difference two points can make.
And then there was one
Nigeria completely dominated the entries in the Under 21 Women’s Singles qualification event. Only Simeen Mookrey, flying the flag for the Republic of South Africa has a chance to stop a Nigerian clean sweep of qualification places. At the moment she is on track. One game remains for Mookrey, but a win won’t come easy. Number one seed in the group Nimota Aregbesola is standing guard, ready to maintain the Nigerian dominance.