Table Tennis: NTTF To Host Competitions Across Different States

By Anulika Menanya, Lagos

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Table Tennis fans in Nigeria will soon begin to enjoy live activities as the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) plans to host competitions in different states across the nation.

Lagos State in South-Western Nigeria has been home to table tennis for decades and has continued to attract world class players due to its ability to host Africa’s elite championships such as the annual Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, which was last held in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The just concluded ITTF Africa Western Region Championships, the ongoing Africa Club and forthcoming Africa Cup championship are some of the events that have continued to treat spectators to world class actions.

The president of NTTF, Ishaku Tikon, says some of these actions will soon kickoff in other states beginning with Abuja, the nation’s capital and hopes awareness programmes being carried out by the federation will attract more spectators.

President, ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy (C); Executive Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Sola Aiyepeku (L); Chairman, Main Organising Committee (MOC), Wahid Enitan Oshodi (R)

“Abuja the capital city has some clubs that have the facilities now. In fact, a lot of local championships are going on in Abuja presently,” Tikon said. “We are looking at routing the next coming event to Abuja. Why we always come to Lagos is because they have the fans.”

“This game of table tennis, you can play it with a very good standard facility but when the fans are not there to motivate the players you don’t get the results. That’s one of the reasons we choose Lagos.”

“As the awareness is ongoing because of the clubs that are springing up in Abuja, the spectators will be developed through the championships and we’ll begin to have the numbers we are expecting from there you’ll start seeing some of these championships going on in Abuja” Tikon said.

The NTTF president who was speaking at the media briefing to set off the second phase of the table tennis triad of events told Voice of Nigeria that a female championship and a youth league are in the works.

“I introduced the maiden edition of all women championship, we had it in 2019 and had to suspend because of the covid-19 but it is in our programme of activities in 2022,” Tikon added. “We will have the women championship, the youth league and son on.”

Chairman, Main Organising Committee, Wahid Enitan Oshodi, promised to deliver world class Africa Club and the Africa Cup tournament — with the likes of world No. 10 Aruna Quadri of Nigeria and World No. 20, Omar Assar of Egypt — expected to jostle for the Africa Cup, which doubles as World Cup qualifiers.

Table tennis World No. 10, Aruna Quadri of Nigeria.

“The African club championship is an old tournament of ours in Africa with some of the best players playing for different clubs,” Oshodi said.

“The caliber of players that will be here on show, to name a few, Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri as well as Africa’s biggest female sensation, 14 year old Hana Goda.

16 clubs made up of nine men and seven women will compete in the Club Championships from May 23 to 25, while 48 players (28men and 20women) will compete for the continental slots at the Africa Cup from May 26 to 28.

The competition is scheduled to hold at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

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