ITTF Portugal Open. Photo: SSTZ

Nigeria’s Offiong Edem and Bode Abiodun worked their way into the main draw of the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open after their stunning victories in the preliminary round of the singles event.

Edem is competing in her first tournament in readiness for the double tournaments holding this month in Tunisia and her performance against Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova confirms her readiness for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Despite going down 3-1 (8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 16-18) in the tie, Edem regained her composure to record a convincing win over the European with 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 win to claim a 4-3 win coupled with a passage to the main draw of the women’s singles.

Abiodun also competing in his first major tournament this year began well from the first round of the preliminary when he took down Scotland’s Niall Cameron 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6) to et up a second-round tie against Germany’s Cedric Meissner.

But the German gave Abiodun a tough challenge when he took a 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 5-11) lead but the Nigerian international regained the lead to win the last three games at 11-7, 13-11, 11-9 to complete a 4-2 victory and sealed his place in the main draw of men’s singles.

Edem and Abiodun will join compatriot, Olajide Omotayo who is already seeded for the main draw, which serves off in the elite stage of the competition.

But what started well for teenage sensation, Taiwo Mati, in his debut in the international senior tournament came to an end, as he fell to England’s Tom Jarvis 4-0 (4-11, 2-11, 5-11, 5-11) in the second round of preliminary. Mati had on Wednesday beaten Guyana’s Miguel Wong 4-0 (11-5, 18-16, 11-4, 11-1) to pick some ranking points from the tournament.

Unlike Mati who even qualified to the second round of the preliminary, Ismaila Akindiya was unlucky, as he was beaten by Switzerland’s Lars Posch 4-1 (11-6, 1-11, 10-12, 3-11, 6-11) to make way for an early exit, while Ganiat Aruna was no match to Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin after the former national junior champion fell 4-0 (1-11, 7-11, 4-11, 2-11) to the Italian star.

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