Nigeria’s wheelchair tennis team has grabbed one of Africa’s wild card for this year’s Paralympics Games in London. The team qualified after defeating Morocco 2-1 in the Wheelchair tennis World Team Cup in Nairobi Kenya.
Wasiu Yusuf set Nigeria on the victory path by firing past Jeddi Ahemd 6-3, 6-1 while Alex Adewale sealed the triangular encounter for Nigeria with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ihaj Boukartacha.
They were however made to taste defeat for the first and only time in the week-long tournament with a 0-6, 7-6, 6-10 loss in the doubles which was inconsequential following their single’s triumph. It was a memorable event after all for the Nigerian team which had just managed to arrive for the tourney hours before it got underway due to shortage of funds.
Yusuf, Nigeria’s top-ranked player impressed in the tournament which featured eight countries from Africa. He won his opening two matches against his Egyptian and Kenyan opponents without dropping a game. Adewale also defeated his Egyptian and Kenyan opponents heading into the finals but lost two games in his previous games which came in the 6-2 win over Kenya’s Edwin Muruah last Thursday.
National wheelchair tennis coach, Frank Tarmena, who led the team to Kenya, said the team would be embarking on a number of tune-up games in Africa and Europe ahead of the Paralympics Games billed for August in London. Adewale had already picked a ticket to the Paralympics following his triumph in one of the qualifiers in South Africa in December last year. His performance -which saw him beat the tournament’s top-seeded player- help jerked Nigeria’s Wild Card qualifying ticket to three from its previous single slot which Yusuf earned to the Beijing 2008 Paralympics Games.