Oshonaike battles world champion in first round
Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike has been handed the biggest task of her career. Her first round opponent at the on-going International Table Tennis Championship (ITTF) holding at the Suzhou International Expo Centre in China is world number one female player and champion, Ning Ding.
Oshonaike made it to the main draw after playing the game of her life to become one of the unseeded players to qualify for the main draw of the championship.
She defeated players from Costa Rica, Mexico and Tunisia, with her toughest challenge being the game against Tunisia’s Safa Saidani, whom she beat 4-3.
Now, she must beat home favourite and world champion, China’s Ning Ding in her first round match on the centre table by 6.00 a.m. Nigerian time.
Nigeria’s Kazeem Makanjuola failed to advance to the main draw by losing his second group match 4-3 to Argentina’s Pablo Tabachnik. But Africa’s most decorated player, Segun Toriola, was in fine form when he defeated Switzerland’s Weber Lionel 4-3 to book his place in the main draw.
Toriola won his two group matches against players from Algeria and Qatar.
The former African champion will tackle Chinese Taipei’s Sheng-Sheng Huang while Aruna Quadri will battle India’s Soumyajit Ghosh.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s duo of Toriola and Oshonaike were shown the exit in the mixed doubles by Netherlands.