Taiwo Mati Becomes First Nigerian Player To Win A Medal At ITTF World Youth Championships [2021]

Recently updated on October 24th, 2022 at 10:11 am

Taiwo Mati has become the first Nigerian player to win a medal (bronze) in the boys’ doubles event at the ITTF World Youth Championships (2021) in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal on December 7, 2021.

Taiwo Mati, the former national junior champion who trained for over seven months with Quadri Aruna during the coronavirous (COVID-19) lockdown, partnered Peru’s Carlos Fernandez in the boys’ doubles to exceed expectations and made it to the podium to claim the first medal for Nigeria in a world championship.

Despite losing the semifinal tie 3-1 to Russia’s Maksim Grebnev and Vladimir Sidorenko, the No. 9 seeds, Mati and his partner were rewarded with a bronze medal as the No. 14 seeds.

The turning point for Mati was in the quarterfinal tie as Mati and his partner emerged from the precipice of defeat to overcome Norway’s Borgar Haug and Italy’s John Oyebode, the No.7 seeds (5-11, 9-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-9).

According to Taiwo Mati:

“I feel so good, I didn’t believe we could get to this stage. We just needed to gain some momentum and courage during the match because we were down 2-0. We just keep on fighting. I’m so happy about this.”

In the words of his partner, Carlos Fernandez:

“Like Mati, it was a dream come true for his Peru teammate. “This is a dream come true, I was not thinking of winning a medal, I cannot believe this is real! Now we will fight our hardest to win. It makes me so proud because to win a medal for Peru in a World Championship is unbelievable.”

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