by Wade Townsend
The atmosphere during the first two days in Lagos has been sensational. It’s not just patriotic cheers from the crowd, but a fully fledged love and appreciation for the sport. Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz was a benefactor of such support in his straight games win over Italy’s John Oyebode in the Last 16 of the Under 21 Men’s Singles.
“I think the atmosphere in Nigeria is awesome and I haven’t seen this kind of fans that shout for every point before. For me I love the atmosphere and I have not seen such atmosphere before in table tennis. This is my first time of witnessing it.” Youssef Abdel-Aziz
Class act from India
India’s Sarthak Gandhi and Reeth Tennison have cruised through to the main draw of the Men’s and Women’s Singles respectively. The pair couldn’t have played any better, taking their place in the main event by winning all their matches in straight games. While Gandhi was expected to qualify, Tennison defeated Nigeria’s Halima Hussain, her group’s top seed to secure her place in the main draw.
It was the narrowest of losses of Nigeria in the preliminary stages of the Men’s Doubles. Italian duo Alessandro Baciocchi and John Oyebode overcame local hopes Makanjuola Kazeem and Jide Ogidiolu as well as the crowd. The visitors broke plenty of hearts as they won 11-9 in the fifth game. Some consolation though for the Nigerian pair, as both progressed through to the main draw of the Men’s Singles.
Nimota Aregbesola shouldered the responsibility of taking out the only international representative in the qualification stages of the Under 21 Women’s Singles, and the Nigerian kept her cool and notched up the win. The victim was the Republic of South Africa’s Simeen Mookrey. Mookrey initiated the first stages of a comeback when she trailed 2-0 by taking the third game. But Aregbesola stopped her opponent in her tracks, and took the fourth game 11-7 to provide Nigeria with a clean sweep of qualification places in the event.