Nigeria will be missing in the main draw of the singles event after the pair of Aruna Quadri and Kazeem Makanjuola crashed out of the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour in Kuwait.
The first casualty was Nigeria’s Makanjuola who failed to win a game in his two matches against his French and Portuguese counterparts.
Makanjuola, who is making his debut in an ITTF World Tour, fell to France’s Benjamin Brossier 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11, while he suffered another defeat against Portugal’s Joao Monteiro 10-12, 7-11, 6-11, 7-11.
However, Portugal-based Quadri began his campaign in group nine on a good note with 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky but he failed to progress after losing to Russia’s Alexey Liventsov 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 to exit the singles event.
Also, Lagos Classics champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar could not advance to the main draw after a narrow loss to Singapore’s Zhaoxu Xin in an encounter that ended 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11 having recorded a 4-2 win over Korea’s Chan-Hyeok Park in his first group match. Like Omar, his compatriots like Mohamed El-Beiali, Khalid Assar and Aly Lashin were booted out of the event.
The only player flying the continent flag in the men’s singles is Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, who won his two matches to seal a place in the last 64. Speaking after his exit, Quadri admitted that he played well but that his opponent was more tactical in his approach to the game.
“Nothing went wrong during the match because I played better than the first game that I won. I want to say that there was so much difference when compared to my performance in this same tour three years ago. My opponent did not win any easy point. Before, I used to have difficult in receiving service but this year I was able to overcome this. I hope to do better at the Qatar Open next week,” Quadri promised.
He added: “I have learnt a lot and I will keep improving because most players are now changing tactics and this most times make receiving services more difficult. I hope to take part in this year’s German and Spanish Opens as part of my build-up to the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.”
For Makanjuola, taking part in this tournament has really exposed some of his lapses, which he said he hopes to correct at the Qatar Open next week. Quadri and Makanjuola are still hoping for a good outing in the men’s doubles.
Source: This Day