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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK

Toriola triumphs in singles

By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport Online at the Table Tennis Centre

Fourth seed Segun Toriola landed Nigeria's only table tennis gold medal in dramatic style on Sunday.

Toriola overcame top-seeded Canadian Johnny Huang 3-11 11-9 6-11 11-7 12-10 11-9 in a punishing final.

The Nigerian ace sealed the victory after a serving fault from Huang in the nail-biting sixth game.

Singapore's Dong Yong Jun shared bronze with other beaten semi-finalist India's Chetan Baboor.

Toriola's win was the last table tennis match of the Manchester Games after the women's singles and men's doubles titles were decided earlier in the day.

It marked the end of a controversial campaign for Huang, who accused an opponent of cheating and threatened to quit the Commonwealth Games last week.

The China-raised Canadian blasted away his African opponent in the opening game, losing just three points.

But cheered on by some very vocal Nigerian fans, Toriola edged the Canadian to draw level on one a piece.

Heated encounter

The physical rigours on both players were telling as Toriola kept the pressure on to stay level on 2-2.

Huang was forced to change shirts at one stage because of his heavy perspiration - much to the inconvenience of officials who had to cover the sponsor's name once again with duck tape.

Toriola was also affected and even ended up losing his shoe during one fierce exchange.

But after the Nigerian went 3-2 ahead, the pressure was on Huang.

The top seed looked as though he might force the match to a seventh and final game when he got to 9-7, but Toriola refused to give up, winning three consecutive points to be on the verge of victory.

Huang responded by trying to pull something out of the bag, but his serve let him down and left him with silver.


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