2016 ITTF Nigerian Open Achieves Record Entries

ITTFFor the first time in the last three editions, the annual ITTF Nigerian Open has achieved record entries of participants for this year’s tournament.

Since its inception in 2013, the tournament competitors have not exceeded 100 but from the list of registered participants for 2016 edition, more than 120 players have been confirmed for the championship holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

According to the Tournament Director, Ranti Olajide, the quality of players and the number of entries is a reflection of the organisation and standard of play.

“I must tell you that this year we are having more players coming from Europe unlike in the past. Also players across the world are now beginning to realize that Nigeria is a mecca of table tennis in Africa, considering the achievement of our local players taking a cue from Aruna Quadri’s global resurgence, which has now become a rallying point for all the players across the world,” he said.

Olajide, who is an ITTF-certified international referee, believes the presence of the top players from Europe would halt the rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt which has dominated the tournament in the last three editions.

“I think this year, the tournament will be competitive particularly with the players coming Europe and they will surely give the home players a run for their money,” he added.

Officials from Egypt and Algeria will handle proceedings at the five-day tournament which has $46,000 (N13.8m) up for grabs.

Players will compete in six events which include singles (men and women); doubles (men and women) as well as U-21 boys and girls.

According to the prospectus for the tournament, any player entering for the tournament will agree to abide by all ITTF rules and by the rules and regulations of the Organizing Committee.

The table tennis tournament scheduled for May 18 to 22 will also renew the rivalry of Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Omar Assar.

Omotayo, Bello Emerge Winners Of ITTF Nigerian Open qualifiers

ITTF - Nigerian Open - Olajide OmotayoOlajide Omotayo and Fatimo Bello have emerged winners in the qualifiers for the 2016 ITTF World Tour tagged Nigerian Open.

The competition featured over 106 male and 48 female players at the National Training Centre of the National Stadium in Lagos.

Omotayo, a former national junior champion, was unbeaten at the two-day tournament to lead the men’s event while Bello had to dig deep to defeat national junior champion, Tosin Oribamishe, in the final of the women event.

To win the men’s event, Omotayo was merciless in the final against an experienced Kazeem Makanjuola with a 4-0 bashing to emerge as the new national champion.

Major Discovery

The speed and skills of Omotayo were beyond Makanjuola in the entertaining encounter, as Bello had to rely on experience to defeat Oribamise in the women’s final.

Beside Omotayo and Makanjuola, others that made it to the top four in the men’s event were Oladele Kehinde and unknown Akanbi Rilwan.

In the women competition, Bello, Oribamise as well as Bose Odusanya and Nimota Aregbola completed the top four-finish.

The top four finishers have also secured their places at the 2016 ITTF Nigerian Open scheduled for May 18 to 22 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

The referee of the tournament, John Peters, said that the players gave good account of themselves.

He identified Nimota Aregbesola as the major discovery after edging out the number one seed, Halimot Hussein in the quarterfinal as well as another top seed, Sidikat Yaya in the round of 16.

Nigerian Open Qualifiers To Serve Off On April 1

table-tennisFor local and foreign-based players to compete at this year’s International Table Tennis Federation World Tour tagged ‘Nigerian Open’, players across the country will compete in the qualifiers, which has been scheduled to serve off on April 1.

At the two-day tournament, eight players made up of four men and four women will join others in the main ITTF World Tour which will begin on May 18 to 22 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos state.

According to the prospectus of the qualifiers, “the tournament shall be used to select players to represent Nigeria in the men’s singles and women’s singles at the World Tour Nigerian Open scheduled for May 18 to 22. Only the four highest ITTF ranked Nigerian players in the April 2016 world ranking in both events shall qualify automatically to represent Nigeria. All players not qualifying automatically but who wish to represent Nigeria are therefore advised to play in the qualifying tournament”.

To be eligible for the qualifying event, only players registered by states which are affiliated to the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) or foreign based Nigerian players will be allowed to compete. All players should have the current NTTF player’s license, which must be produced on demand.

It stated further that “all intending players shall signify their intention to play by registering with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation with a copy to the referee. The organisers may disqualify a player if information supplied is found to be false.

“All players shall abide by the rules and regulations of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation and the International Table Tennis Federation, particularly as regards fair play. All players shall not, by their action or inaction, bring the sport into disrepute. All players shall strive to win all matches, no matter who their opponent is.”

For the qualifiers format, the registered players will be drawn into pools and matches will be played in a group round robin, with qualifiers from each group advancing into second round in both events while matches in round one round robin shall be best of five games. Matches in round two shall be best of seven games and shall be played on knock-out basis.