Nigeria pulled off a minor surprise by beating India 3-1 to claim the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games men’s team table tennis on Monday.
There were wild scenes after Ojo Onaolapo, ranked 488th in the world, beat Kamal Achanta, who is ranked 50th, to seal a noteworthy triumph four years after India had won 3-0 at the same stage.
Onaolapo was lifted into the air by his team-mates following his 11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory.
“We wanted to win a medal but nobody expected us to,” he said.
“I’m excited, I’m happy to win. In table tennis if you have a lot of the domination you can beat anybody.
“There will be a lot of celebration for Nigeria, a lot of drinks, dancing and food. Everyone will be very pleased for me.”
Achanta had got India off to the perfect start with a 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 win over Segun Toriola in just 22 minutes.
But Nigeria came back with Quadri Aruna beating Harmeet Rajul Desai 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 to level at 1-1.
A dramatic five game doubles match proved to be crucial though as Onaolapo and Toriola won 3-11, 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9 against Desai and Anthony Arputh after trailing by a game and 9-5.
For Toriola, Nigeria’s success had an added significance as it was his sixth Commonwealth Games medal in a prosperous career.
“I’m so happy because it’s my last Commonwealth Games before I retire,” he said.
“I felt so sad and worried after the first match. If I won it, it would have been a great start and I would have been more relaxed. I just tried to keep myself relaxed for the doubles.
“The doubles was the match of the game. It was the most important match. Doubles are strange, it is a 50-50.”
Peter Engel, the India coach, was bitterly disappointed with his side’s defeat.
“We were counting on winning our doubles match and it was 1-0 and 9-5 to us but they lost,” he said.
“After that we lost a match that we should not lose. Kamal was not really ready from the beginning, and this is what happens.”
The gold medal will be decided later on Monday with England taking on Singapore in the final, after their wins against India and Nigeria respectively.