Nigeria made a quick recovery to their shock 1-3 loss to Slovakia with comprehensive win over Bulgaria and Australia to berth in the knockout stage of the men’s second division of 2018 ITTF World Team Championships holding in Halmstad, Sweden.
Unlike Nigeria, Egypt men and women teams are in race to be safe from dropping to second division after making their unimpressive debut in the Championship Division
Knowing what the defeat to Slovakia would have on their promotion ambition, Nigeria made a giant stride to put its foot on the last 16 round of the championship.
It was Bulgaria that first tasted defeat against Nigeria earlier on Wednesday May 2 with the trio of Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo beating Bulgaria’s GOLOVANOV Stanislav, ALEXANDROV Teodor and KODJABASHEV Denislav.
Having suffered successive defeat against Slovakia, Toriola showed his class against GOLOVANOV Stanislav with an emphatic 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 win to put Nigeria ahead.
Unbeaten Quadri increased Nigeria’s lead with another convincing 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 victory over ALEXANDROV Teodor.
Omotayo whose confidence was on the low regain himself to record 4-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 over KODJABASHEV Denislav to complete the 3-0 rout of the European side.
This win confirmed Nigeria’s second place in Group F and later in the day, it was the turn of Australia to suffer same defeat in the hand of the West African team.
In his usual style, Quadri led the onslaught against the Aussie team with another 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 bashing of GOULD Benjamin.
Bode Abiodun played his second match of the competition after being rested for two days with an excellent 12-10, 11-2, 11-9 win over Kane Townsend.
Still battling with some nervousness, Omotayo was forced into five games by DHOORIA Rohan. But it was the improved Nigerian that claimed the victory with 11-6, 11-13, 12-14, 11-8, 11-3 victory to hand the African side another 3-0 win.
On Thursday May 3, Nigeria will continue its quest for promotion as the team battles for a place in the quarterfinal in the second division.
For Egypt women, the battle for safety will be against Belarus while the men will also be aiming to remain in the elite cadre of the tournament.