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Omotayo, Assar, Saleh bow out of WTT tourney in Doha

Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo on Sunday set an African record as the first player from the African continent to win a match at the ongoing World…

Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo on Sunday set an African record as the first player from the African continent to win a match at the ongoing World Table Tennis (WTT) Middle East Hub taking place in Doha, Qatar.

This was achieved after he defeated Kazakhstan’s Alan Kurmangaliyev in the first stage of the preliminary round with players from Egypt and Algeria tasting defeats in all their matches.

However, the African history-maker Omotayo yesterday bowed out fighting in the second stage of the preliminary round of the tournament.

Pitched against the best player in the German Bundesliga, Sweden’s Anton Kallberg, the 2019 African Games champion Omotayo showed class against his opponent despite going 2-0 (11-8, 11-3) down in the tie.

Omotayo fought back with 11-9, 11-7 wins to put the match at 2-2. Even in the deciding game, Omotayo was leading 7-5 before surrendering the match to his European counterpart at 11-7 to exit the competition from the preliminary round.

Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh were also not lucky in their matches as they were bundled out from the same stage of the competition by their European counterparts.

Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw who was the revelation at the 2019 Nigerian Open remains the only African that progressed to the third stage of the preliminary after a convincing 3-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-6) win over Romania’s Sipos Rares.

And to be sure of competing alongside Aruna in the main draw, Diaw will have to overcome Russia’s Kirill Skachkov on Tuesday March 2.

Meanwhile, the highest ranked African star Quadri Aruna is ready to compete in the main draw of the men’s singles in the $200,000 prize-money tournament which has attracted 298 players from 66 countries.

Aruna who is the only ranked African in the top 20 seeded players is shaping up for the main draw expected to kick off on Wednesday March 3 as the organisers unveiled the new show court tables expected to be used for the main draw event of the tournament.

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