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Toriola makes history with table tennis gold

04 August 2002

Nigeria's Segun Toriola was in fighting spirit as he defeated the controversial Canadian Johnny Huang to take gold in the men's singles.

Johnny Huang

Huang in surprise defeat

Today at the Table Tennis Centre was the first time in 20 years that a Nigerian player had won the men's singles at a Commonwealth championship.

Huang, who had been suffering from a virus, started well, taking the first game 11-3. But Toriola came back from behind to take the second, 11-9.

Huang outwitted Toriola in the third with some deceptive serving and took the game 11-6.

By the fourth game, the attacking Toriola was able to read Huang's shots and controlled the play with his trademark smash to take the game 11-7.

A steely-eyed Toriola seemed the more determined in the fifth game as he punched back his shots, taking a tightly-contested game, 12-10.

Toriola was on winning form in the sixth game and despite losing his shoe at 4-7 down, clung on to take the point and the game, 11-9.

Tentative serving by Huang on Toriola's first championship point realised the Nigerian's gold medal dream. As he lay stunned on the floor, his faithful supporters erupted in cheers and dancing.

Bronze medallists were Chetan Baboor of India and Singapore's Duan Yong Jun.

Toriola commented: "I enjoyed the game. It is my first Commonwealth gold in the singles. It is probably the best moment of my career. Last time I lost in the semi-final."

Huang added: "I am suffering from a virus but received a lot of support from my coach and finally made the decision to stay. I am happy with the silver as I could have been at home by now."

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