Africa number 1 Aruna Quadri will be the only Nigerian when action begins in the main draw of the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday.
Quadri will be joined by four Africans from Egypt Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh in the men’s singles while Dina Meshref and Reem El-Eraky will play in the women’s singles.
A determined Quadri said: “I am fit and I am ready to roar regardless of who I am set up against. There is no doubt that it is a tough tournament because there are no minnows in table tennis as everybody is capable of causing upset.”
Other members of the Team Nigeria contingent failed to advance to the main draw.
In the men’s singles, Olajide Omotayo and Segun Toriola bounced back from Sunday’s loss but it wasn’t enough to get them to the main draw.
Omotayo worked over his Ivorian opponent Kizito Oba who didn’t show up for the match while Toriola beat Kanate Ali from Ivory Coast 4-0 (11-5,11-1,11-8,11-8).
After winning his two opening group qualifications, Bode Abiodun fell to Ali Alkhadrawi of Saudi Arabia in seven games 4-3(11-8,7-11,9-11,6-11,11-9,11-9,11-7) to reserve his main draw place.
Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem and Ajoke Ojomu also recorded defeats in the women’s singles.
After a winning start in the group qualification, Ajoke Ojomu fell to a 4-0 (9-11, 6-11, 10-12, 4-11) defeat to Korea’s Yoo Eunchong.
Offiong Edem did her best but it was not enough against her Swedish opponent Filippa Bergand. Edem was so close to winning her second game in the group qualifiers but lost 4-3 in the best of seven games (8-11,11-6,11-9,9-11,11-9,9-11,7-11)
Estonia’s Ari Avameri caused an upset beating 43 year old Olufunke Oshonaike . The 289 ranked player prevailed in five games (11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1).
After the game, Oshonaike felt pained about the loss to the 18 year old.
“I really wanted to win this match but it was difficult for me because my opponent was using long pimples; this really made it hard for me to predict how she will play. She is a good fighter as well. I thought if I could win the second game, it would be a different ball game entirely. The second game was crucial, I won but lost the match. It is very painful for me losing this match because I prepared well for this tournament.”
Oshonaike added,” I think this is also good preparation for me for the Africa Cup and African Games; I hope to continue my training and work more on myself before these important tournaments later in the year.”