Table tennis trio, Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri, and Bode Abiodun, all made history at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and this made their exit from the games an even more emotional moment for Nigerian fans everywhere.
Team Nigeria was outclassed by a more tactical Chinese team led by Olympic and World Champion, Ma Long.
Emotions began to fly throughout the hall when just before the game, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), hosted a ceremony in honor of tennis veteran, Toriola, who is the first African player from any sport to qualify for seven Olympics games. And to crown the moment, Nigeria was Africa’s only representative in the team event at the 2016 Games.
Team Nigeria was going against a well-versed Chinese side in their very first game, and a victory would have been monumental.
However, China defeated Nigeria 3-0 at the Riocentro Pavilion 3, to advance to the second round of the competition.
Segun played team Nigeria’s first game, but his efforts were not enough to overpower Xin Xu, who gave the Nigerian a 3-0 thrashing.
In the next game, it was Nigeria’s best, Quadri Vs the World Champion. The Chinese player had earlier ended Quadri’s unbeaten run in the quarterfinals of the men’s Singles event, and the Nigerian needed to prove a point to Ma.
Quadri proved his point alright; he is a fighter. However, his beautiful display only dragged the game to four sets. He ultimately lost to Ma 3-1.
Bode Abiodun partnered with Toriola in the third game, but were met with great difficulty from the duo of Xu and Jike Zhang. Nigeria eventually lost the third game 3-0 to China.
Featured image source: Finding Mystery