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Nigeria’s table tennis team crashes out of Tokyo Olympics

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Nigeria’s hope of parading a table tennis team at the Tokyo Olympics Games went up in flames yesterday at the 2020 ITTF World Team qualification tournament in Gondomar.

Poland’s Jakub Dyjas, who was runner up some nine months ago at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open, ended Nigeria’s journey to Tokyo on the second day of action yesterday.

He remained unbeaten, in the men’s event guiding Poland to a full distance five match win against Nigeria.

A real upset according to status, as Poland occupied the no.23 seed position as against Nigeria’s no.14 seeds.

The day started with Samuel Kulczycki and Marek Badowski beating veteran Segun Toriola and partner Olajide Omotayo 3-1 (11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2) to win the doubles and give Poland an early lead. Next came pitched Jakub Dyjas against Quadri Aruna.

But Dyjas, who is World no. 71 made history be beating Quadri, the world no.18 in splendid fashion, needing just the four games for a 3-1 (11-7, 10-12, 13-11, 11-5) win.

The Polish athlete showcased his immense speed of thought and play, pushing Aruna to make errors.

Notably, the long forehand of Aruna, bat finishing high above his head consistently, makes his forehand recovery long. In contrast, Dyjas’ returns and shots happened much quicker as well as more compact – assuring him control over proceedings.

However, just when the story seemed to be set in motion, the Nigerian team awoke to the sound of their fans – with a roar, Olajide Omotayo beat Marek Badowski (9-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-7), Quadri Aruna overcame Samuel Kulczycki (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5), to bring the overall match score to 2-2.

In the decider, it was the turn of Olympian Segun Toriola to maintain the momentum, fighting for the chance of an unprecedented eighth appearance at the Olympic Games. The task was much tougher than he expected.

Jakub Dyjas was in no mood to let his hard work go to waste, as he showed calm and mental steel at the table to beat the veteran Toriola (10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8).


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