Paralympians Dominate 2nd Para Table Tennis Open In Lagos
Six para table tennis players who have booked their places at the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics Games showed their quality to emerge champions at the 2nd edition of the Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
From the experienced Paralympians like Tajudeen Agunbiade, Olufemi Ajayi, and Ahmed Koleosho to debutants Isau Ogunkunle, Faith Obazuaye and Victor Farinloye, nobody could match their quality and experience or stop them from clinching the titles in their various classes.
Sydney 2000 Paralympics Games gold medalists, Agunbiade and Alabi dominated class 10 and nine, beating all their opponents to emerge victoriously.
Unlike Agunbiade and Alabi that had to wait the final day to know their fate, Ogunkunle, Obazuaye, Farinloye, and Koleosho were crowned champions in class four, 10, seven, and three a day earlier.
200 players featured in the tournament, some of them were making their debut in the national competition which has an objective of supporting special athletes and developing para table tennis in Nigeria.
The three-day championship was organised by Sunday Odebode Foundation in collaboration with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) with support from the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).
Faith Obazuaye, a silver medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, the tournament has boosted her confidence heading to Tokyo especially coming at a time they are all in the national camp for Tokyo 2021.
“I am so happy that I could compete this year considering what the COVID-19 pandemic has cost the whole world. We could not compete internationally while locally we have not been able to compete. I am happy that the sponsor of this tournament kept faith to bankroll again this year and allowed more players within the country to compete. I am so happy that I am eagerly looking forward to Tokyo 2021 in Japan,” she said.
The Technical Director of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Adesoji Tayo lauded the sponsors for deciding to support the tournament this year amidst the pandemic and urged more corporate bodies to support the para-athletes and develop the sport in the country.