Pandemonium broke out at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Abuja, venue of the table tennis event of the 2018 National Sports Festival, on Friday as Table Tennis legend Segun Toriola was disqualified from the men’s event and later reinstated after he was registered by two states.
The seven-time Olympian was registered for the men’s singles and doubles by Delta and Akwa Ibom states.
According to the rules of the Games, an athlete who has been registered by two states for an even stands disqualified from the festival.
John Peters, who is the head of the table tennis Technical Committee, told journalists that the committee during their meeting on Thursday discovered that Toriola was registered by two different states and would be disqualified from the event.
“For the able players’ games, Segun Toriola was registered twice by two different states, Akwa Ibom and Delta, and the rule says we should disqualify such a player. That is what we have done,” said Peters.
However, it was later learnt that when matches started at the venue on Friday, Toriola was eventually allowed to play after his registration was sorted. He was allowed to represent Akwa Ibom at the Games.
“He was initially not allowed to play because they couldn’t sort which state he was representing between Delta and Akwa Ibom but after a while, it was sorted and he played his first match representing Akwa Ibom,” a source at the stadium confirmed.
The former African champion played against Mustapha Bello of Bayelsa State in the round of 64 which he 4-1. Later in the day, he defeated Idris Zakari 4-1 in the round of 32 to progress to the next round of the event.
Toriola is at the Games along with Funke Oshonaike, who is also representing Akwa Ibom State in table tennis. Oshonaike won her round of 64 match against Onyinye Nwachukwu 4-0 to progress to the round of 32.