Makanjuola records first victory at ITTF World Tour, as doubles events begins as Spanish Open

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Having featured in two International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-sanctioned World Tours without any win but on Wednesday in the city of Almeria, Spain, Nigeria’s Kazeem Makanjuola recorded his first victory at the ongoing Tour tagged Spanish Open.
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On Thursday, Nigerian players will be on duty as the doubles events take centre stage at the five-day $100,000 prize money championship.

Prior to the resounding victory against Venezuela’s Nelson Villamieva, Makanjuola, a bronze medalist at the maiden Lagos Classics had suffered defeats at the Kuwait and Qatar Opens earlier this year, while he narrowly missed out from competing at the German Open.

However, he halted his strings of loss on table three when he pounded his Venezuelan counterpart, 11-4, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 with his last hurdle to secure a place in the main draw holding on Thursday against Spain’s Alfredo Carneros on table six.

Before departing for the tournament, southpaw Makanjuola had said that he would return to the country empty-handed having tasted defeats in his two appearances at the World Tour. Also knowing fully well that amassing defeats might raised a question about his inclusion in the Team Nigeria to the 2014 World Championship in Japan later this month.

Again, Ganiat Olatunde-Aruna failed to overcome India’s Shamini Kumaresan in her first group match despite making several spirited efforts in the encounter. But it was the Indian lady that carried the day with a 13-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 win.

In the preliminary of the doubles events, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Makanjuola got a bye to the last 32 where they are expected to tackle Denmark’s duo of Mikkel Hindesson and Kasper Sternberg on Thursday. Also, the pair of Olatunde-Aruna and Edem Offiong will confront Chinese Taipei’s Hsin Huang and Hsing-Yin Liu on Thursday as well.

Meanwhile, Alexandre Robinot is one of three Frenchmen who are prominent in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event; the two others are Thomas Le Breton and Benjamin Brossier. Thomas Le Breton is the third highest globally rated in action; Benjamin Brossier is sixth on the list.

They have been impressed during their careers on the international stage as well as their compatriots – Antoine Hachard, Jeremy Petiot, Can Akkuzu and Mehdi Bouloussa, who will compete in the group qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event.