Nigerians Aruna Quadri, Segun Toriola and Olajide Omotayo have qualified for the semifinal of the men’s singles of table tennis at the 12th African Games holding in Rabat, Morocco on Tuesday.
It was Aruna Quadri who set the tone for others after thrashing Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu 4-0, while Toriola and Omotayo worked hard for their victory against Egypt’s Khalid Assar and Ahmed Saleh.
The encounter between Omotayo and Saleh brought to fore the battle between youthfulness and experience and it was youthfulness that laughed last.
Omotayo was all over the veteran Egyptian from the start to the end and he ensured that Saleh went down with a 4-3 win.
Also, Toriola wind back the time with a superlative 4-3 win over Assar.
Earlier, Egypt’s Omar Assar had beaten Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-0 to set up a semifinal clash against Aruna Quadri on Thursday, August 29.
It will be Nigerian affairs in the second semifinal as Omotayo battles Toriola.
In the women’s event, Olufunke Oshonaike played her last game after going down 3-4 to Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz. Dina Meshref also beat Algeria’s Lynda Logrhaibi 4-0, while Edem Offiong humbled Egypt’s Reem El-Eraky.
Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou berthed in the last four after beating Egypt’s Yousra Helmy.
Offiong will battle Hanffou while Meshref will face her compatriot – Abdel-Aziz in the second semifinal on Thursday, August 29.
An elated Omotayo said: ” I am so excited that in my first African Games I made it to the semifinal. I knew that it was going to be a tough game against of the most experienced African players and I just ensured that I did not get angry on the table because he did everything to upset me but I was determined. I was calm and I am happy that this is a good outing for me in the singles.”