With majority of the Nigerian team taking part in the ongoing ITTF World Junior Circuit in Egypt taking part in their first international competition, the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) believes the three bronze medals won by the team so far was satisfactory.
According to the President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, the players gave a good account of themselves against top rated players, while blaming their semifinal loss to inexperience.
“So far I am quite impressed with the standard of our players considering that this is the first international outing for a large majority of our players. If you also throw into the equation the presence of the more experienced European teams and Africans here I think they are doing quite well. Three bronze medals in the team events are quite a good start even though I think they had very good chances in the junior boys’ and girls’ semifinals but the inexperience of some of the players contributed to their loss. They will surely improve as the tournament moves on. Tournaments like this is very important to enable us test our players against the best in the world so we have a clear idea of what we need to be doing back home,” Oshodi said.
He however said, “We will go back home listen to the coaches who have accompanied the team and continue to work on improving these youngsters. Two players will be off to China soon along with some of our coaches to attend a training programme with the Chinese National team and play in a tournament there. We must continuously improve the knowledge of the players and of course we need to attend more tournaments of this nature and expose our young players very quickly to the rigours of world class tournament play. We are on the right track. I hope the players will sustain their good start and I believe we still have more opportunities to win laurels herein Egypt.”
Meanwhile, Esther Oribamise became the only Nigerian player on the losing side in the singles event of the championship as the Ekiti State-born athlete was beaten by Egypt’s Zeina Essam 3-2. Vivian Oku also fell to Egypt’s Nour Abdelhamid 3-0 in the cadet girls’ singles.
But the likes of Olasunkanmi Oginni, Amadi Omeh, Nurudeen Hassan, Alimot Ayinla, Ajoke Ojomu and Abayomi Animasahun were on the winning side in their first group matches on Wednesday.