by Ian Marshall, Editor
Pride of place most certainly went to Jamiu Ayanwale he caused a major upset by beating Italy’s Antonio Amato, the fourth highest rated player on initial phase duty and at the end of last year in action in Riva del Garda at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
In a tension packed seven games full distance encounter, to the delight of the passionate crowd, Jamala Ayanwale recovered from a three games to nil deficit to emerge successful by the very narrowest of margins (5-11, 9-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11).
“It was an interesting encounter, when I first lost the first three games, I didn’t lose hope, I believed I could still make it; it was the self confidence that gave me an edge over my opponent. I discovered he wasn’t so good on his forehand so I took advantage of that; I feel great at moment, very happy to have won the game. For how far I would go in the tournament, I really can’t say anything about that now but I am happy.”Jamiu Ayanwale
Success for Jamala Ayanwale in an absolute thriller, for Abhishek Yadav, life was less dramatic; he accounted for Nigeria’s Abayomi Animasahun, the eighth highest rated on initial phase duty in four straight games (11-5, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7).
First place for Abhishek Yadav, further down the order it was first place for colleague Ronit Bhanja and Mudit Dani, as it was significantly for China’s Liu Jialiang, Wang Xinyang and Wang Shaobo.
Meanwhile, amongst the leading names on first stage duty, there were notable successes for Nigeria; Nurudeen Hassan, Tobi Falana, Azeez Jamiu and Azeez Solanke all topped their groups as did Congo Brazzaville’s Abiodun lawal and Egypt’s Mahmoud Helmy.
Players finishing in first places in each of the 23 groups advance directly to main draw; those in second positions progress to a preliminary round; the winner plus one “Lucky Loser” gain main draw places.
Notably, in addition, both Liu Jialiang and Wang Shaobo alongside Ronit Bhanja and Mudit Dani progressed safely through the Men’s Doubles preliminary stage.
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