Nigeria failed to make it to the final of the junior boys and girls team events at the on-going ITTF World Junior Circuit tagged Egypt Junior and Cadet Open holding at the 6th October Hall in Cairo.
What started like a good run was thwarted on Tuesday by host – Egypt in the semi-final of the team event after the Olasunkanmi Oginni and Esther Oribamise inspired Nigerian side fell 3-0 respectively in the boys and girls semi-final.
African Junior Champion, Egypt’s Aly Ghallaby inspired the North African team in the semi-final tie against Nigeria with a 3-0 rout, while Amira Yousry also deflated the Nigerian girls with a 3-0 bashing of Oribamise and Alimot Ayinla.
However, teenager sensations, Abayomi Animasahun and Michael Obayomi were in good form in their quarterfinal tie as they combined well to defeat the combination of Egypt and Tunisia 3-1 to qualify for the semi-final of the cadet boys’ team event.
Obayomi started the winning streak with 11-6, 11-9, 12-10 victory over Egypt’s Marwan Nader while Animasahun failed to increase the lead after he fell to Tunisia’s Youssef Ben Attia 7-11, 15-13, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8 to put the match at 1-1.
Obayomi and Animasahun combined very well in the doubles match to restore Nigeria’s lead with 4-11, 8-11, 7-11 win over the duo of Egypt’s Nader and Tunisia’s Ben Attia.
To affirm Nigeria’s victory, Animasahun rediscovered his form against Egypt’s Nader with 11-0, 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 victory to give Nigeria a 3-1 win over the North Africans.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Mohammed Al-Naggar has lauded the quality of Nigerian players at the tournament.
”I will do my best so as to make the finals of the singles but I was really surprised with Nigeria’s style of play because they came out all fighting. They are motivated to play and fight hard on the table but I don’t see them as a threat.
”I was shocked about Nigeria’s performance and how they played. I was not expecting them to play this good and I must admit that Nigerian players are good players but we didn’t play well,” he added.