The male defending champion of the monthly National Invitational Table Tennis Tournament, Ahmeed Bello, has retained his title by defeating his opponent, Ahmeed Adeyinka.
Bello won by 11-3,12-10,11-8,11-8,11-8 (3-2) at the competition held on Sunday at the Country Club, Ikeja.
Also, in the female category, Rashidat Ogundele, defeated Funke Hassan 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (3-0).
The male joint third winners are Kunle Ajulo and Ghazal Adeyinka, while the females are Bose Odusanya and Funke Hassan.
Apparently joyful, Bello said that he was happy to retain his title, adding that his intensive training before the tournament yielded positive results.
He said that he would go back to training immediately to keep up with the tempo to win the next edition in March.
“Honestly, I am very happy with this victory and I must say that I put so much effort into it. I am happy that I was able to meet my target,’’ he said.
Adeyinka, disappointed by the loss, said that the game showed that he still had a lot of work to do.
He said that he would go back to correct his mistakes which made him lose to his opponent twice in the finals.
“The better player won because if I had played well, I would have won. Bello is a very good player and I congratulate him on his success,’’ Adeyinka said.
On her part, the female winner, Ogundele also said that she attributed her success to self-confidence.
She said that her victory over Kazeem in the group stages boasted her morale and gave her the confidence needed to defeat her again.
“In the group stages, I defeated her 3-1 and that spurred me to beat her again. I played my normal game in all the matches.
I followed my coach’s instructions while playing and that gave me heads up on how best to go with the game.
Kazeem is also a good player I must say and our matches were not an easy one, luck and determination just worked in my favour,’’ she said.
The first prize winners in both categories got N50,000, while the runners-up got N30,000 each and the joint third winners got N15,000 each.
Also Azeez Sholanke the best junior player got N20,000, while all players who qualified from the preliminaries got gift items for participating.
The monthly tournament which had its eighth edition in February is sponsored by three friends.
They are Adesoji Taiwo, Chukwuma Udom and Tunji Lawal.
The February edition had females participating for the first time.
Facilitating the monthly tournament is borne out of the passion that the trio have for table tennis and their desire for Nigeria to be the game’s beaters globally.
NAN/ Jibril .O