–Set for bronze medal after 3-1 loss to Singapore
The superb form of the Nigeria table tennis squad was thwarted on Sunday after the Segun Toriola-inspired side fell 3-1 to Singapore in the semifinal tie of the men’s team event at the ongoing 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
In spite spirited efforts against defending champion, the team honourably bowed to the Asian giant 3-1 to be aiming for the bronze medal.
Before setting up the last four clash against the highly-rated Singapore, the Nigerian side led by veteran Segun Toriola had conquered youthful Northern Ireland and Australia in their race to the semifinal stage of the competition.
Despite qualifying easily from Group D made up Bangladesh, Kiribati and Mauritius, the Nigerian side had to contend with Northern Ireland in the knockout stage to be certain of playing in the quarterfinal stage.
Without any doubt that Northern Ireland side were in superb form but the superb display by current African champion, Aruna Quadri ensured that Nigeria defied the odd against the Irish side to win the encounter at 3-2.
And when it was obvious that Nigeria was going to tackle Australia in the quarterfinal, Quadri has admitted that it was not going to be an easy task for Nigeria.
I was a little bit nervous when it came to the fifth match against Northern Ireland but I went ahead. Thanks to God I won the next three points to go one-nil ahead. The winner of the first game for sure would win the match and that settled me down.
We have some difficultchallenges ahead of us against the Australians. They (Australia) is very
good with William Henzell in the team. We must be at 100 per cent. You never know what can happen in the knock-out stage,” Portugal-based Quadri admitted.
Just like Quadri predicted the tie against Australia turned out to be a difficult battle for Nigeria but the African king once again came to the rescue to salvage a 3-2 win for Nigeria.
Before Sunday’s semifinal clash against Singapore, nobody ever expected Nigeria to battle the Asian side the way the game turned out to be. But without any doubt the Nigerians fought hard with Quadri again remained unbeaten winning his match, while Toriola and Bode Abiodun
losing their matches to give Singapore a 3-1 win.
Since the competition started no team have won a game against Singapore, but Quadri defeated J. Zhan 3-1 to dent the 100 percent record of the Asian side.
However, on Monday, Nigeria will have to compete for the bronze medal as the team is expected to battle either England or India for the third prize.
But the women team could not progress beyond the knockout stagedespite managing to qualify from the group. They were bundled out byhMalaysia in the round of 16.
The singles and doubles events will commence this week.