Nigeria won its first gold medal in the men’s double event of the Africa Senior Table Tennis Championship. The duo of Aruna Quadri and Kazeem Makanjuola defeated their compatriot Onaolapo Ojo and Jide Ogidiolu on Wednesday at the ongoing ITTF 2015 Africa Senior Table Tennis Championships in Cairo, Egypt.
Reports showed that Ojo and Ogidiolu were rewarded with silver medals. The victory gave the country its first gold medal in the doubles event of the championship. Nosiru Bello, the head coach Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) said that it was a good development to see all Nigerians playing in the final of the men’s double event of the championship.
”This is one record I have been trying so hard to achieve and I must confess I am happy it was achieved at this championship. ”I must commend the players because they all put up spirited fight despite the fact that they are all Nigerians playing in the final. “They all want to make history, because Nigeria have not won gold medal at men’s double of the championship before,” he said. Nigeria has won six medals so far in the championships.
The country now has one gold, three silver and two bronze. Makanjuola said that winning gold medal in the double event was not an easy task. ”You know we are all Nigerians and the Nigeria fighting spirits are in all of us, we know ourselves which makes it difficult for us to beat each other.
” I want to thank the federation for this opportunity given to us to further showcase ourselves to the world. ” It was a good experience and I am glad I was part of the team that made history,” he said. Ojo the silver medalist said that the better side won. The Italy based player said that he would go back to his base to intensify training toward better performance in other championships.
” I would go back to my base and work towards improving my performance,’’ Ojo said. Meanwhile Nigeria’s hope of winning the men’s single event was dashed on Wednesday when Egyptian Mohamed El-Beiali defeated Quadri at the quarter-final stage. Quadri, Africa’s number one ranked player and ITTF Stars Player of the Year was favorite for the medal.
Nigeria was represented in the male events by Quadri, Ojo, Ogidiolu and home based player Makanjuola. In the women category Funke Oshonaike, Atinuke Olaide, Edem Offiong and Cecilia Otu-Akpan are representing the country. Tthe tournament served off Jan.23 and ends Jan. 29.