April 7, 2018

For Australia it’s time to rest and recover. (Photo: Ricardo Dasso)

Nigeria has crushed the local Australian team’s dreams of a homemade medal, defeating the Aussies 3-1 in the quarter-final of the Men’s Team Event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. 

It was deja vu for Australia. At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, they had also suffered at the hands of Nigeria in the quarter-final. It was the same result in Delhi at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Australians may soon start speaking of the Nigerian curse. 

Australian Men’s Team Coach Brett Clarke knew that it was going to be an up hill battle but thought a good performance good flip the odds.

“We hoped for a win. We were 40/60 in my mind.” Brett Clarke, Australian Coach

In the first match, Bode Abiodun edged out Helming Hu in a five game thriller to put Nigeria on the board. 

“The first match was close and that mattered. We needed that win; it was a pivotal match for us.” Brett Clarke, Australian Coach

In the second match a usually placid Xin Yan was energetic in Oxenford Studios as he came out to face Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo. 

The 22-year-old Nigerian struggled to keep pace with Yan as the match progressed, and Australia got themselves on the scoreboard. 

When it was time for the doubles Nigeria’s trump card, Segun Toriola, took the court. The Australian pairing of David Powell and Heming Hu were buoyed by the local fans, but it wasn’t enough. Toriola’s impressive skillset shone through as he and Omotayo took the match 3-0. 

It was all on Xin Yan to keep Aussie hopes alive.

It was going to be a challenge as he faced Segun Toriola, a seven time Olympian. 

But despite a strong start, Yan struggled to get through the experienced hands of Toriola. The Australian number one tired as the match went on, while Toriola begun to turn up the heat in his first match here on the Gold Coast.

Toriola sealed Australia’s fate and won the match for Nigeria 3-1. 

The Australian men’s team will now have two days to rest and recuperate before the the individual matches start.

Meanwhile, the Australian women will be back in action tomorrow as they play Singapore in the semi-final of the Women’s Team Event.