Nigeria rules mixed doubles as singles events take center stage.
CONTINENTAL table tennis powerhouse, Nigeria, lived up to the billings on Day Two of the second ITTF Africa Western Africa Region Championships as the country claimed the mixed doubles event on Tuesday in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigeria’s class in the mixed doubles was beyond doubt as four of the country’s pairs made it to the semifinal of the event, the final of which the duo of Azeez Solanke and Fatimo Bello won.
To be crowned champions, Solanke and Fatimo triumphed over Orok Etim and Vivian Oku with a commanding 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-5) win.
In the third-place match involving another Nigerian pair, Rilwan Akanbi, and Bose Odusanya, the duo beat Amadi Umeh and Hope Uduak 3 2.
Meanwhile, with the conclusion of the team and doubles events, all eyes are now on the singles events as challengers aim to dethrone Oba Oba Kizito of Cote d’Ivoire and Fatimo Bello of Nigeria who is the defending champions in the male and female singles categories, respectively.
Top seed Kizito is optimistic that he can weather the storm in Lagos to retain his title. Although Kizito had tasted defeat in the team event, the Ivorien is battle-ready for the singles. He said: “I am here to retain my title and from the look of things, it might look taxing for me this year because we have some good players, especially from Nigeria. But having watched most of the players, I am sure I can repeat my winning performance again in Lagos.”
According to the format of the singles events, players have been drawn into groups with the top ones advancing to the knockout stage scheduled for Wednesday, November 3. The second ITTF Africa Western Africa Region Championships are taking place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos, Nigeria.