Nigeria’s Offiong Edem is out of the women’s singles of the Table Tennis event at the Tokyo Olympics, following a 1-4 (13-11,2-11,2-11,8-11,6-11) second round loss to Team USA’s Lily Zhang.
The 34-year old Nigerian, who last Saturday recorded the nation’s only win so far in any event at the Games, won the first game against the 3-time US champion and looked like she could cause an upset, but the craftier American devised a means to claim the 4 remaining games.
Despite a convincing 4-1 win over Dora Madarasz last weekend, facing Zhang who is ranked much higher, was always going to be a tough proposition for Edem.
Edem nets her return, consequently handing Zhang the match point.
Great effort by the Nigerian but this is where her journey in Tokyo ends after a 1-4(13-11,2-11,2-11, 8-11,6-11) loss to 3-time American champion Lily Zhang.#PagaChamps #MoCLive #tabletennis #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/QayslZYXu4
— Making of Champions (@MakingOfChamps) July 26, 2021
Although Zhang easily won Games 2 and 3, the 4th Game could have gone either way as Edem was close to forcing a tie-break in the 4th Game, but an unforced error saw her give up a point that would have put the Game at 10-9 with a chance to serve for 10-10. Zhang knew anything could happen, made use of a timeout to stem the Edem’s rhythm.
With three matchpoints saved in the deciding set, turning it around and saving seven would have been nothing short of miraculous. Ultimately Edem did not show up to be rolled over, she fought hard to give the 31st ranked American a match.
Edem’s loss now leaves Quadri Aruna as the only Nigerian left in the Table Tennis event in Tokyo. Aruna has been seeded 15th and will play his first match early on Tuesday morning.
Many thanks to Paga for being the official sponsor of Making of Champions coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.