2021 ITTF Championships: Nigeria Gets First Round Foes


The four Nigerian players competing in the Singles event of the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships taking place in Houston, United States have been drawn against their first-round opponents with Africa’s highest ranked player Quadri Aruna pitched against Belarus’ Aleksandr Khanin.

Matches begin today November 23 at the George R Brown Convention Centre in Houston, Texas, United States.

The 13th seed Aruna is listed among the 32 top seeds in the Men’s Singles, and he will face the young Belarusian who last month fought from 2-1 to beat Nigeria’s Taiwo Mati 3-2 at the Slovenia Open.

Aruna will face his biggest challenge in the fourth round against 2019 runners up Mattias Falck of Sweden.

Aruna’s compatriot – Olajide Omotayo has been handed a huge task when he battles Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi who defeated Aruna in the third round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

Familiar foe
Also in the Men’s Singles, Bode Abiodun will slug it out against a familiar foe in India’s Anthony Amalraj.

The only Nigeria’s flagbearer in the Women’s Singles, Offiong Edem has been handed a stern test against world number 13 Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem in the first round.

Meanwhile, runner up four years ago in the German city of Düsseldorf, China’s Fan Zhendong starts favourite to claim the Men’s Singles title at the Championships Finals; he is the top seed. He is drawn in the same quarter as compatriots Lin Gaoyuan, the  number 5 seed; Wang Chuqin, the  number 12 seed, is a potential fourth round opponent.

Also, in the same half appears Ling Jingkun, the number 6 seed and a player in form, having just won the men’s singles title at the recent World Table Tennis tournaments in Slovenia. Furthermore, at the 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Liang Jingkun ended the progress of Fan Zhendong in round four.

Potential fourth
In Houston, in the same quarter of the draw as Fan Zhendong appears Japan’s Koki Niwa, the number 15 seed, the potential fourth round opponent for Lin Gaoyuan; in the same round for Liang Jingkun, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the number 3 seed, is the nominated adversary.

However, to reach the last eight testing times await. The potential fourth round opponent for Liang Jungkun is England’s Liam Pitchford, the number 11 seed, for Hugo Calderano it is Jang Woojin.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Hugo Calderano beat Jang Woojin in the men’s team event but then lost in the singles.


NP/Lateefah Ibrahim

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