After a shaky start in which they lost their first matches, the duo of Tajudeen Agunbiade and Koleosho Ahmed, stroked their way back into reckoning in the men’s singles table tennis event on day two of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Agunbiade, a Sydney 2000 double gold medalist defeated highly rated Zhao Yi Qing of China 3-2 in what was seen as the match of the evening.
The old war horse started strong, picking the first two sets at 11-7, 11-5 but Zhao fought back to also claim the next two at 11-7, 11-7. Agunbiade however stood firm to win the final set at 11-9 in a fight to finish.
His victory takes him into the quarter finals against Devos Laurens of Belgium who won the Class 9 gold medal in Rio 2016 and the Lasko 2018 World Championships as well as having nine European Championships titles to his credit.
Koleosho jerked off from a 5-11 first set loss to Ukrainian Petruniv Victor to seize three straight sets at 13-11, 11-7 and 11-9 in another fiesty match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Isau Ogunkunle who began his contest on Thursday started well with an 11-8 first set lead but conceded three sets at 5-11, 11-13 and 7-11 to Thomas Maxime of France, after which he also lost 7-11, 7-11, 11-7 and 9-11 to Saleh Ahmed of Egypt.
Olufemi Alabi did not fair better as he lost in three straight sets, 9-11, 8-11 and 6-11 to Australian Joel Coughlan just as Farinloye Victor fell 14-12, 5-11 and 6-11 to Great Britain’s Billy Shilton.
Nigeria’s women’s singles only entry, Faith Obazuaye, also fell in her second game to Zhao Xiaoping of China 6-11, 5-11 and 9-11.
She however has another chance to proceed if she can make good over Yang Qian of Australia in her third match on Friday just as Olufemi Alabi has a third chance with Radovic Filip of Montenegro.