by Simon Daish
Successfully moving through the qualification stage, but the host nation’s Agnes Onoja has a huge task ahead of her in the opening round of the Women’s Singles draw with Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, seeded first for the event, providing the opposition for the Nigerian competitor.
The second seeded player has also been handed Nigerian opposition in the Round of 32 with Hungary’s Szandra Pergel getting her campaign underway against Oluwafunke Hassan at the foot of the draw. Third seed Giorgia Piccolin, Italy, takes on Chinese qualifier Wang Shu.
Still regarded as one of Nigeria’s leading names in table tennis, Olufunke Oshonaike will open her account in Lagos against Elodie Ho Wan Kau of Mauritius while no.16 seed Cecilia Akpan meets Nandeshwaree Jalim in another Nigeria vs Mauritius encounter.
Securing a top 16 finish on his Nigeria Open debut in 2017, Gavin Rumgay is back in Lagos one year on hoping to go even better in the Men’s Singles draw. The Scottish competitor told ITTF-Africa Press Officer Olalekan Okusan that he’s greatly looking forward to returning to the action at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium where he will meet Nurudeen Hassan in the Round of 64.
“I am so excited coming back to Nigeria. On my first visit I enjoyed every day I spent because the success and enthusiasm of the tournament was awesome and it has become my best tournament in recent times. The fans are appreciative of the efforts of the players and this most times motivates us to give our best.” Gavin Rumgay
Other players to look out for on the opening day of the main draw are two of the African continent’s finest in Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali, who will do battle with Antonino Amato and Liu Jialiang respectively.
England’s Sam Walker will mark his first appearance in Lagos against Nigerian representative Orok Etim and also keep an eye out for Finland’s Benedek Olah as the 2016 Men’s Singles gold medallist begins his journey in opposition to Emmanuel Augustine.
The Men’s Singles event will feature Round of 32 action later in the day while the semi-finals line-ups for the two Under 21 tournaments will also be decided.