ITTF World Tour Serves Off In Lagos
After months of preparations, particularly the confirmation of participants, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, Lagos Open is set to serve off on Tuesday, March 10 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Eighty-two players drawn from 11 countries will compete in the $46,000 prize money tournament, which is also a world ranking event, listed on the ITTF World Tour calendar as a challenge series.
As the second challenge series after the Hungary Open, the tournament will once again renew the fierce rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt as the North African team has a 12-man contingent competing in the six events at the championship.
Unlike the previous editions, where players are expected to compete from the group stage to qualify for the next stage, this year’s edition has a knock-out format, where players will only progress after
winning each match.
According to Competition Manager who has appointed by the ITTF, Mounir Bessah, the stage is set for the commencement of the competition as everything has been put in place by the host.
“I am satisfied with what I have seen so far and there is an improvement from what I witnessed last year. I think the tournament is improving each year and I am happy with the atmosphere coupled with the kind of organisation put in place. We are also hopeful that the players will have an exciting time in Lagos.
“The equipment is of world standard as it meets ITTF specifications while the hotel and logistics are also perfect. I believe that the tournament will be more exciting this year with the quality of players competing this year,” Bessah said.
An elated President, Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, believes Lagos Open has become a rally point for Africa, with the quality of organisation and the presence of Lagos fans who
most times make the tournament very glamorous.
“I am looking forward to the huge support the players used to get from the Lagos fans. I think this competition is unique because the fans are always there for the players and this alone makes the tournament different from every other in the continent. I must commend the efforts of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) led by Wahid Oshodi for their commitment and sincerity in igniting the love for the sport among the fans and for us in ATTF, this is very important for our sport to grow and get more sponsors,” the ATTF boss said.
Africa’s number one table tennis player, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has arrived for the championship and had his first training on Monday. He has also promised to put behind him the disappointments of Cairo, Kuwait and Qatar by giving the home fans reasons to cheer at end of the Lagos Open.