Quadri, Effiom dominate at Commonwealth Games trials

AFRICA’S current champion, Aruna Quadri, overshadowed all other players at the three-day National Sports Commission (NSC)-organised Commonwealth Games trials held at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Quadri, who will be part of the Nigerian team to this month’s World Team Championship in Moscow, Russia, held sway at the trials to emerge the overall winner at the event. Prior to becoming the top player at the exercise, he beat most of his opponents to top the group.

He was also unstoppable during the decider and never lost any game throughout the exercise to confine the likes of Gbenga Anthony, Sola Oyetayo, Kayode Adedeji and Kazeem Makanjuola to second, third, fourth and fifth respectively in the men event.

In the women event, the consistency of the players came to fore, as Ganiat Ogundele, who only penultimate weekend emerged champion of the national Singles Cup to qualify for the African version of the championship, played second fiddle to junior sensation, Janet Effiom, who was the overall winner at the trials.

Even Ogundele’s perennial arch-rival, Olaide Atinuke, was nowhere near the top four, as she placed fifth among the 19 players that took part in the trials. Ogundele came second, Ganiat Olatunde was third, while mother of one, Nike Aroyewun came fourth while Atinkue was fifth.

The Guardian leant that the NSC would decide the number of players that would compete with the foreign-based during the final trials before the Commonwealth Games in India. Over 40 players selected from the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF)-organised trials participated in the exercise.

The technical crew was headed by Lateef Sunmola and Richards Edem, who oversaw the exercise, while the NSC took care of the players throughout the three-day trials. According to NTTF scribe, Segun Oguntade, the trials became necessary to give the players, both at home and abroad, equal opportunity to prove their worth if they hope to make the team to India come October.

He said: “We want to ensure that the best hands are selected for the championship because we cannot afford to lower our standard at the Games. We have always been among the top three teams at the Games since table tennis was introduced at the 2002 Manchester Games in United Kingdom (UK).

“The federation has reduced the number of players and we are hoping that the NSC will also make its selection from the ones we had made so that the ones chosen would compete with the foreign-based during the final trials.”



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