Making an unprecedented seventh appearance at the Olympic Games, Nigeria’s Segun Toriola dug deep to beat his Czech opponent Dmitrij Prokopcov 4-2 and advance to round 2 of the men’s Singles Table Tennis competition.
Toriola had to do it the hard way, losing the first game to Prokopcov by 11-8, but he picked himself up in the second and third games, taking a 2-1 lead with 11-6 and 11-8 respective wins.
However Prokopcov did not back out, rather he clawed his way back into the game to level it at 2-2 after winning the 4th game by 11-9. Toriola regrouped, then bounced back to steer clear in the 5th and 6th game which won 11-8, 11-8 to take the win.
On an evening his two compatriots, Olufunke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong lost out in the first round of their Singles events, Toriola fought hard to progress to next round. At 42, Toriola is still going strong and not playing like his best days are behind him.
Playing on Sunday, Aruna Quadri who is the highest ranked African didn’t compete in round 1, but would enter the competition in round 2 with his opponent yet to be decided. Meanwhile, Toriola will face Japan’s Koki Niwa in round 2, also on Sunday.