Teenager upsets veteran Oshonaike at National Sports Festival
Nineteen-year old Nimota Aregbesola caused the biggest stir in the women table tennis singles event at the on-going 19th National Sports Festival yesterday, as she out-stroked Germany-based legend and the country’s most capped female Olympian, Funk Oshonaike, in their quarterfinals thus stopping the latter from progressing into the medal zone.
Aregbesola of Lagos state, who lost in the final of the recent Asoju Oba Cup Championship, survived the first game scare to hit Oshonaike 4-3 in the keenly contested match to advance to the semifinals.
Oshonaike, who is representing Akwa Ibom State, had clinched the first game 11-9, but could not contend with the vibrant strokes from the enterprising Aregbesola, who had a good number of the spectators and athletes at the Indoor Hall of the Package B of Abuja National Stadium vociferously cheering her.
At 3-3 major, Oshonaike came from five points down in the rubber to level at 8-8, but suddenly lost grip; an advantage Aregbesola neatly utilised to wrapped up the game at 14-12 and match.
“I could not believe it that I can stand Funke Oshonaike based on her huge exposure and wealth of experience. It is really a marvelous achievement, Aregbesola said.
“Now that Oshonaike is out of my way, I will need to remain focus to realise the dream of a festival medal. I’m trying to put behind me the defeat I suffered in the final of Asoju Oba Cup Championship to advance to the final in the women singles at this National Sports Festival.”
Nimota Aregbesola will face Ajoke Ojomu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the semifinals after the latter had taken out Janet Apkan Friday of Cross River state at 4-3.
Oshonaike, who had earlier received shock exit in the mixed double she paired Italy-based Segun Toriola, quickly left the Indoor hall perhaps to avoid media chat.
Ping pong veteran Taofik Maya of Oyo state had paired up and coming Funmi Ajala to send the foreign-based duo of Oshonaike and Toriola out in their quarterfinals duel; the defeat that signalled danger for Oshonaike and Toriola in the Festival.