Nigeria lose to India in CWG table tennis final

By George Akpayen

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Photo: ITTF
Photo: ITTF

The Nigerian men’s table tennis team missed the chance to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia as they suffered a three-nil defeat to India at Oxenford Studios on Monday.

Nigeria’s top-ranked player Aruna Quadri sat out the final due to illness with the trio of Segun Toriola, Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo featuring against the impressive Indians.

In the first match, Abiodun cruised to a comfortable 11-4 defeat of Sharath Kamal Achanta and it all looked like Nigeria were in good mood to bag their first gold of the games after five days.

Achanta ranked 48 in the world battled his way back into the match, winning the next three games — 11-5, 11-4 and 11-9.

Experienced Toriola stepped forward to face Sathiyan Gnanasekaran who is now India’s highest-ranked player in the world at 46, which is 120 places ahead of his Nigerian opponents.

The 44-year-old Nigerian took the first game 12-10 after rallying from 11-6 to force the game into game point and thereafter edging it.

Gnanasekaran however switched style and opted for the forehand which Toriola found difficult to deal with. Gnanasekaran took the next three games in easy fashion winning 11-3, 11-3 and 11-4.

At this point, Nigeria needed to win the third match to stretch the contest to the fourth. So Abiodun and Omotayo paired in the men’s double to face Gnanasekaran and Hameet Desai.

It was always going to be a Herculean task for the Nigerian pair who are ranked outside the top-200 in the world.

The Indians triumphed in 15 minutes to win 11-8, 11-5 and 11-3 to emerge gold medal winners.

India’s success in the double rendered the next two singles fixtures meaningless.

© The Predictor NG

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