ITF/CAT championships: Oyinlomo, Marylove in all-Nigeria final showdown
*Osewa, Ayoola, Abamu also qualify for AJC in South Africa
*Hungarian Open: Onaolapo, others get opponents
Oyinlomo Quadri and Marylove Edward set up an all-Nigeria final meeting in the girls’ 14 and under at the ITF/CAT West and Central African Championships in Lome, Togo. The clash of the two youngsters is the second straight final meeting with Quadri triumphing 6-3, 6-3 in Abuja last year.
Playing at the Stade Omnisports – the venue where she made history by winning two of her three consecutive ITF Circuits last year- the 13-year-old Quadri lived up to her status as the overwhelming favourite with an emphatic 6-0, 6-0 annihilation of Togo’s Dotsie Vania.
“I have played her about three times before and I have always beaten her. So it was a very easy match. I was very sure I will defend my title here so I’m not surprised I’m in the final again.” stated Quadri, who is on the verge of returning for her second year at the ITF High Performance Centre in Morocco by the end of January. Marylove, on her part, got the better of Lorie Lemongo of Cameroun 6-4, 6-4.
As at end of matches on Sunday, five out of Nigeria’s 12-man team at the event have secured their places to the African Junior Championships billed for South Africa in March but the country’s roller-coaster ride was halted on Monday with the trio of Michael Osewa, Michael Ayoola and Matthew Abamu all succumbed to defeats in their semifinal ties.
Osewa won the boys’ 16 and under title in Abuja last year before reaching the final in Pretoria but playing in the 16 and under category, he bowed to Eliakim Coulibaly of Cote d’Ivoire. The left-handed Coulibaly is one of the players on scholarship at the High Performance Centre in Morocco and was clinical in his approach winning 6-2, 6-0.
In the same category, Ayoola also could not withstand the firepower of Senegalese Nicholas Jadoun who triumphed 6-0, 7-6 while Abamu fell 4-6, 6-0, 3-6 to Souleman Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire in the boys’ 14 and under.
David Dawariye continued his push to join the train to South Africa by beating Sadiq Nougbessi of Benin Republic 6-4, 6-3. He will have to beat Seyindey Andre of Senegal for the fifth place playoff to make his efforts count.
The doubles event is scheduled to get underway Monday evening and Team Nigeria will have to push harder if they are to retain the overall winners’ title. The team event will also be played to wrap up the tournament featuring 111 players from 11 countries.
Meanwhile, in table tennis, Ojo Onaolapo and three other Nigerian players have been handed their opponents in the preliminary stage of the first ITTF World Tour in 2017 – Hungarian Open, as the tournament serves off on today in Budapest. Onaolapo was handed a tough draw as he is expected to battle Hong Kong’s Tianyi Jiang and Italy’s Matteo Mutti in Group 17 for a place in the main draw.
Also, Portugal-based Bode Abiodun is in Group 61 where he will face France’s Andrea Landrieu and Slovakia’s Jakub Figel. Kazeem Makanjuola is in Group 1 alongside England’s Liam Pitchford and Belarus’ Gleb Shamruk, while Olajide Omotayo will take on Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin and Belarus’ Aliaksandr Khanin. Aruna Quadri and his doubles partner, Egypt’s Omar Assar, have made the 16-man seeding list of the championship.