Team Nigeria’s para Table Tennis duo Tajudeen
Agunbiade and Ahmed Koleosho have qualified for the quarter finals of their respective events.
Both ping pongers showed grit and determination to displace their opponents and brighten their chances of picking a medal at the Paralympic Games.
Tajudeen Agunbiade dug deep to edge out his difficult Chinese counterpart 3-2 in the Men’s Singles Table Tennis preliminaries while Ahmed Koleosho, another highly rated Team Nigeria entrant had a smoother ride beating his Ukrainian rival 3-1 to book his spot in the quarter finals.
Paralympic Update: Agunbiade, Koleosho fight back to reckoning
After a shaky start in which they lost their first matches, the duo of Tajudeen Agunbiade and Koleosho Ahmed, stroked their way back into reckoning in the men’s singles table tennis event on day two of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Agunbiade, a Sydney 2000 double gold medalist defeated highly rated Zhao Yi Qing of China 3-2 in what was seen as the match of the evening.
The old war horse started strong, picking the first two sets at 11-7, 11-5 but Zhao fought back to also claim the next two at 11-7, 11-7. Agunbiade however stood firm to win the final set at 11-9 in a fight to finish.
His victory takes him into the quarter finals against Devos Laurens of Belgium who won the Class 9 gold medal in Rio 2016 and the Lasko 2018 World Championships as well as having nine European Championships titles to his credit.
Koleosho jerked off from a 5-11 first set loss to Ukrainian Petruniv Victor to seize three straight sets at 13-11, 11-7 and 11-9 in another fiesty match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Isau Ogunkunle who began his contest on Thursday started well with an 11-8 first set lead but conceded three sets at 5-11, 11-13 and 7-11 to Thomas Maxime of France, after which he also lost 7-11, 7-11, 11-7 and 9-11 to Saleh Ahmed of Egypt.
Olufemi Alabi did not fair better as he lost in three straight sets, 9-11, 8-11 and 6-11 to Australian Joel Coughlan just as Farinloye Victor fell 14-12, 5-11 and 6-11 to Great Britain’s Billy Shilton.
Nigeria’s women’s singles only entry, Faith Obazuaye, also fell in her second game to Zhao Xiaoping of China 6-11, 5-11 and 9-11.
She however has another chance to proceed if she can make good over Yang Qian of Australia in her third match on Friday just as Olufemi Alabi has a third chance with Radovic Filip of Montenegro.
Latifat started with 105. She failed first attempt but lifted it in second attempt. She lifted 107 in her third and final attempt.
She attempted 117 to set a games record but she did succeed. She was not prepared for it. It was the Nigerian delegation that urged her to attempt the games record as her failure would not affect the result.
Silver was Cui Zhe of China. She started with 95, then 100 in successful 1st and second attempts. When she saw Lati had lifted 105, she booked 110 and even increased it to 112 for her final attempt
Bronze medalist, Justyna Kozdryk of Poland started with 93 and 95 successfully. She then booked 101 for her final attempt knowing she was already in the podium.
Cui also seeing that Justyna stopped at 101 decided to respect herself and scaled down her 112 booking to 102 to settle for silver.
So with the successful 105 in her second attempt, Latifat had the gold before her final attempt. She also however did the 107 final attempt successfully.
By Fred Edoreh