August 25 2021
Five of six Nigerian table tennis entries lost their opening matches on Tuesday to begin their Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games campaign.
All hope is however not lost as they remain in great physical and mental shape to salvage their chances in the games ahead.
In the men's singles, Sydney 2000 gold medalist, Tajudeen Agunbiade, was not at his best against Mai Ivan of Ukraine, losing in three straight sets, 5-11; 7-11 and 6-11.
Ahmed Koleosho who was at the Rio 2016 Games also lost in three straight sets of 5-11; 3-11 and 8-11 to Bruechl Thomas of Germany in class C.
It was the same for Olufemi Alao who lost at 6-11, 4-11 and 9-11 to Lian Hao of China after conceding 16 points from his serves just as Agunbiade did.
Farinloye Victor however put up a strong fight against Ukrainian Didukh Victor, shaking off a 6-11 first set deficit to take the next two sets, 11-7, 11-9, but Didukh had the upper hand in the succeeding sets, finishing at 11-9 and 11-3 to win the match with 3-2.
In the women's singles, Faith Bazuaye, the only woman in the team, started fairly well against Tien Shiau Wen of China, only narrowly losing the first set in 9-11 but the Chinese came out harder to dismiss her at 11-3, 11-3 in the succeeding sets for three straight win over the Nigerian.
Coach Sunday Odebode sure has some more peps to do as all six players will scheduled to be on board again on Wednesday, August 26, to redeem their chances.
While Ogunkunle Isau will take his first taste of action with two games against Thomas Maxime of France and Saleh Sameh Mohamed of Egypt, Agunbiade and Obazuaye will be up Chinese siblings, Zhao Yi Qing and Zhao Xiaoping, respectively, in their second games.
Olufemi Alabi is matched against Joel Coughlan of Australia while Koleosho will take on Petruniv Vasyl of Ukraine.