Chinese duo, Wang Shaobo and Guo Yan, yesterday, won the Under 21 events in the Men’s and Women’s Singles categories respectively, at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open.
In the tourney, which ends today at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State, Shaobo overcame India’s Ronit Bhanja in three straight games of 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 to triumph in the Men’s U-21 category, while Yan beat compatriot, Fan Siqi in 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 to win the women’s event.
This is the first time ever that Shaobo and Yan would be winning either the ITTF Challenge Series, or the ITTF World Tour tournament titles in their careers.
Chinese coach, Ma Yufei, expressed delight at his country’s performance saying: “We are delighted that we reached the finals because it is our first time in Africa. It is a fantastic experience to be here in Nigeria.”
He continued: “Nigerian meals are great and we also had good accommodation and hospitality in our hotel.
The country is great, but a little different from ours. Nigerian people are fantastic and loving people.”
In one of the matches also decided yesterday, tournament’s top seed and the country’s hopeful, Aruna Quadri, advanced to the semifinal after he overpowered Romania’s Rares Sipos 4-0 in the senior Men’s Singles quarterfinal duel.
However, tennis legend, Olufunke Oshonaike and Cecilia Akpan, were yesterday thrown out in the second round of the senior Women’s Singles, thereby ending the country’s medal hopes in that category.
Oshonaike ranked eight was beaten by China’s 12th seed, Fan Siqi, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, while Akpan (16) lost to Hungary’s Szandra Pergel (second seed) 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4.
Quadri after his Round of 16 win said he will try to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians if he qualifies for the final.
“I think I have equal chances just like the other participants that have already qualified for the next round.
I think it is a 50/50 chance. Everyone thinks that I am the favourite.
By ranking, I am, by the game it’s not really the same thing because anything can happen.
“I really want to make the home crowd happy; I want to win just like everyone else.
So, I think I have a big chance just like all of them, and it is good to win here.
I remember winning here four or five years ago and everyone was really happy.
It is something sweet if one wins in front of the home crowd,” he stated.