Kenya's medal hopes at Africa Top 16 Cup dashed

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-02 17:19:02|Editor: Lifang
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NAIROBI, Mar. 2 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan hopes of medaling in the singles competition of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Top 16 Cup tumbled on day one as top Kenyan seed, Martin Mutua and compatriot Sejal Thakker were eliminated on Thursday.

Mutua and Thakkar exited the men's and women's singles after going down in their opening two encounters.

Mutua was beaten 1-3 by Saheed Idowu of Congo before losing by a similar margin to Derik Nyoh Ofon of Cameroon in his second game.

The Kenyan favorite took a 1-0 lead in the first set in a fast paced game that lasted only five minutes.

Idowu took only four minutes to level the tie at 1-1 when he took the second set 11-5 before a lack of focus proved to be Mutua's undoing in the third.

The Congolese took the fourth set 6-11 to seal the match 1-3.

The second encounter pitting Mutua against Ofon was a keenly contested affair that saw all the games decided on tie breakers in what was a heartbreaking loss for the Kenyan.

Mutua lost the first 12-14, before Ofon went 2-0 up by taking the second 15-13.

The nail-biting affair saw the Kenyan rally to take set three 11-9, but the Cameroonian closed out the contest by winning the fourth by the same score.

Thakkar lost her second women's singles match 1-3 (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3) to Christy Bristol of Seychelles having been brushed aside 0-3 by Algeria's Katia Kessaci in her opener.

Despite falling at the first hurdle the Kenyan duo picked out positives saying that the competition would give them exposure ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

"We prepared well for the tournament. We knew it would not be easy but we are happy that we gained important skills ahead of the Games," Mutua said.