It was a bad start for Nigeria Table Tennis players as five lost in their opening matches at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games.
The day one of the event saw five out of the six players that qualified for the Games tasted defeat in the hands of their respective opponents.
However, all hope is not lost as they remain in great physical and mental shape to salvage their chances as the games progress.
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 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, narrowly lost 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 said that he has some more works 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 against 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.