by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Olalekan Okusan – ITTF African Press Officer)
In the initial phase of proceedings, he was beaten by Kazeem Nasiru, the 1996 African champion (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-4); in the opening round Makanjuola Kazeem ended adventures (11-4, 11-9, 15-13, 9-11, 11-2).
Notably Makanjuola Kazeem partnered Quadri Aruna to Men’s Doubles success at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Nigeria Open; they are the only African pair to win an ITTF World Tour or Challenge Series Men’s Doubles title.
Defeat but just under one month ago Theo Cogill enjoyed success. He is a Class 10 Para athlete. At the 4th Taichung Open for the Disabled, staged in Chinese Taipei, he won Men’s Singles Class 9-10; at the final hurdle overcoming Japan’s Naoya Nagashita (14-12, 11-8, 11-5).
“I have always been in love with sport particularly football and table tennis but my decision to embrace table tennis was motivated by what I used to do at home with my siblings. I was 12 and we moved to our new home in Bonteheuwei in Cape Town but we were yet to fix the door.
So I and my brothers converted the wooden door to a table tennis board and put a plank in between to serve as net. We used to use wooden bats as well and it was through this I fell in love with the sport. Even when I was down with the spinal cord injury which prevented me from walking, it was through table tennis that I derived joy.
Later I joined Boundary Table Tennis Club in Bonteheuwei to which I belong to this day. The support from my parents was also vital in my passion for the sport. Despite not attending more tournaments, I still find time to train and my target now is to make my debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, which I believe is possible for me if I continue to work hard.
A child in sports is a child out of police court. I am positive about myself and I have never felt I am disabled as I just want to enjoy doing what I love doing.” Theo Cogill
Defeat in the opening round for Theo Cogill but there was success for his colleague, Kurt Lingevelt; he beat Nigeria’s Bode Kayode (11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10).
“This is my first ITTF Challenge tournament. It has been exciting and unbelievable for me; especially with the huge support from the crowd coupled with the presence of top players. I was so nervous in the match and I was trying to be careful and make sure I put the ball on the corner.
I was also hoping not to make the match easy for my opponent. I am happy making it to the second round because my goal initially was to qualify from the group and now I am in the round of 32. Now I am setting a last 16 target for myself now.” Kurt Lingeveldt
In the group stage, Kurt Lingevelt finished in first place ahead of Nigeria’s Taiwo Mati and Qudus Surmer.