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    Despite challenge, Nigeria’s Mati Taiwo starts World Youth Championship with victory

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    The African Youth U19 boys’ Champion began his singles journey with an upset against 5th seed Nicholas Lum of Australia in the round of 32.

    Mati came from behind to beat Nicholas 4-2 (7-11, 11-5,12-10, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8) in a tensed game in Tunis.

    He will face China’s Lin Shidong in the round of 16 on Friday.

    Mati is a lone ranger being the only Nigerian representative in Tunisia after the country pulled out of the championship because of funds.

    The African Youth Champion told Pulse Sports Nigeria that he is in Tunisia to give his best and hope for good result.

    Mati is currently ranked 101 in the current ITTF rankings and ranked Africa U17 number one which he is denied getting more ranking points after the championship.

    Recall that, Nigeria missed out on the 2022 ITTF World Championships in Chengdu, China in September for same reason.

    NTTF president, Ishaku Tikon, said letters were submitted to the ministry for the tournament but all efforts proved abortive.

    He said, “I knew what these boys went through before qualifying for this tournament and for two months we had written to the ministry about the trip, but we did not get any result from all the visits as the excuse was that there were no funds.

    “I am not happy that our young players will not be competing with their counterparts at the biggest youth gathering in Tunis. But this is where we find ourselves and it prompted us to withdraw the boys’ team in order to avoid possible sanctions from the world table tennis ruling body.”

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