56-year-old veteran Nigerian Table Tennis player, Taofik Maya’s sojourn at the 2015 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Lagos Open Tour ended in the round of 32 at the expense of 22-year-old Egyptian Khalid Assar on Wednesday.
Having advanced into the main draw with a second-placed finish behind Portugal’s Diogo Silva, Maya suffered straight games defeat by 6th-seed Assar- a vibrant youngster 34 years younger in age- at the Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall.
The 56-year-old lost 11-5, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 but his participation at the GAC sponsored tour could earn him a place on the Men’s World Rankings, and could become the second most senior rated player behind 61-year-old Danny Seemiller of the United States.
“I will continue to play in national competitions in Nigeria; I plan to stop when I reach 60 years of age but this for me will not be easy”, Taofik told Olalekan Okusan, the Media Officer for the ITTF-African Table Tennis Federation.
“I hope then I can live without my love for sport, I made a name for myself and I made some money but always my table tennis has been my first love.”
Seeded players excel in opening round of U-21 event
Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo cruised into the quarter-finals of the U-21 Men’s Singles category via straight games win over compatriot, Joshua Oladiran.
The 20-year-old top seed, a quarter-finalist at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, made a walk of his round-of-16 tie with Oladiran with an 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 win.
Second seed Shady Magdy on his own part rebounded from losing the opening game against qualifier, Nurudeen Hassan of the host nation.
The Egyptian prospect, who won Boys’ Singles titles on the ITTF Junior Circuit in 2013 in both Iraq and Tunisia, outlasted his lesser accomplished opponent 11-13, 11-1, 12-10, 11-9 to secure a place in the last 8.
“It was not an easy match because I knew nothing about my opponent”, said 19-year-old Magdy. “I was a bit nervous in the first two games but my coach told me to relax and play my game; this really helped me to get back into the game.”
“I did not take notice my opponent at all because he played in the preliminary to make it to the main draw.
“He is a good player and I am so excited that I won, I look forward to each match as I progress.”
There were wins also for third seed Mahmoud Fathy and No. 4 seed Olajide Omotayo. Egyptian Fathy accounted for Nigerian Azeez Solanke 11-6, 11-4, 11-1, while Omotayo saw off compatriot Michael Obayomi 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6.
Nigeria’s Olasunkanmi Ogini, Akinwale Fagamilia and Azeez Ogunlade are also through to the quarter-finals of the U-21 Men’s Singles event, as well as Egypt’s Ahmed Marbouk.
Ogini beat qualifier Joseph Osedunkwu 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, Fagamilia proved too hot for Sunday Akomolafe with an 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 win and Ogunlade rebounded with a 6-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 win over Babatunde Babefemi.
Marbouk survived a mid-match blip to see off colleague Sayed Ramadan 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7.
Top half U-21 Men’s Singles Last 8 Draw (Thursday)
Ojo Onaolapo vs. Olasunkanmi Ogini
Ahmed Marbouk vs. Mahmoud Fathy
Lower half U-21 Men’s Singles Last 8 Draw (Thursday)
Olajide Omotayo vs. Akimwale Fagbamilia
Azeez Ogunlade vs. Shady Magdy