National Table Tennis Championships Serves Off May 18

A file photo of table tennis bats and eggs.

 

The 2021 Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) National Championships will serve off from May 18 to 22 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

The tournament which provides a good platform to test the home-based players will be contested by states and clubs across the country in 12 events, including veterans who are above 50 years.

One of Africa’s longest-serving referees, John Peters, has also been named as the tournament referee while ITTF-certified Competition Manager, Segun Peters, will handle the draw proceedings at the tournament.

Players are expected to compete for the top prize in team (men and women), singles (men and women), doubles (men and women), doubles U-21 (men and women), cadet (boys and girls), and veterans singles above 50.

NTTF Technical Director, Adesoji Tayo, said the tournament would help to unearth new talents following the exploits of some junior players at the 20th National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020.

“We are excited that new players are coming on board, particularly with what happened in Edo where Amadi Omeh who, beyond all expectations, emerged as the new National Sports Festival Champion and who could have imagined that such a player who recently graduated from junior to senior would defeat some of the established players to win the tournament?

“This has again shown us that with more competitions like this, we can see more several players coming through to upstage the established ones,” said Tayo who is also the director of the tournament.

He added, “We also want to use the tournament to re-enact the atmosphere synonymous with the Nigeria Open which was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope to bring back the atmosphere with this tournament as players across the countries are expected to be part of the five-day event with mouth-watering prize money.”

The tournament director confirmed that the U-21 and cadet events have been included in the national championships to enable upcoming players showcase their talents against their counterparts, saying technical officials would be on the ground to identify talents that would form the bulk of the national junior team.

Also, world’s number one U-11 cadet player, Musa Mustapha, and his brother, Mustapha Mustapha, would be in Lagos for the tournament.

The Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) has expressed its readiness to host the tournament as table tennis is one of the sports with a good following in the state.

Para Table Tennis Open To Serve Off Tomorrow in Lagos

 

The much-anticipated Para Table Tennis Open will serve off on Thursday, December 19, at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos with hundreds of players aiming to have a share of the N10.8m prize money.

Already, apart from Nigeria, eight African countries are in Lagos for the three-day tournament which ends on Saturday, December 21.

Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Togo, and Ghana will compete in the 44 events tournament for players in class 1 to 10.

Hundreds of players will compete in singles, team and doubles events.

Five Nigerians have qualified in the para table tennis event of Tokyo 2020 and the federation believes staging the championship will aid the discovery of more players for the country.

For Rio 2016 Paralympian, Ahmed Koleosho, the tournament will provide the players the platform to compete against their foreign counterparts, particularly the local players who are yet to compete at higher level of the game.

“I am so excited that we are hosting this kind of competition and I am hoping and believing that we will make Nigeria proud. It will surely give upcoming players the opportunity to compete against their experienced counterparts,” the Tokyo 2020-bound Paralympian said.

President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, said staging the tournament would help players that had already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to tune-up for the sports fiesta in Japan next year.

“This is a good development for table tennis in Nigeria and we are grateful to our sponsor – Valuejet for deeming it fit to support the championship,” the NTTF boss said.

“We are excited and we can’t wait for the tournament to kick-off as our aim is to make it a ranking event by 2020 on the ITTF calendar. This is another first from NTTF and we hope our players and visitors will enjoy the warmth of Lagos and Nigeria during the competition.”

According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the aim of the tournament is to expose the players to a world-class tournament, particularly as they are expected to compete against some of the best players in Africa.

Odebody said, “We want to use this competition to develop para table tennis in Nigeria while also promoting the talents of the players.

“We believe this tournament will enhance the sport as well as give us the leverage to stage and be listed among the ITTF tournament in the near future. Our players will also be exposed to competition among themselves and other players coming to Nigeria for the championship.”

Two days ago, an ITTF classifier, Elsayed Mehrem arrived in Lagos to classify some of the Nigerian players to their various classes.

ITTF Commends Nigeria Open

 

 

 

Impressed by the world-class organisation of the event and the huge followership the annual ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open commands globally, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has described the tournament as a model for others.

At the press briefing to herald the tournament in Lagos, Executive Vice President, ITTF, Dr Alaa Meshref, said upgrading the tournament to Challenge Plus was done as a result of its global acceptance by players.

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“We are happy to have a tournament with the fans coming to watch and this has improved with more players eager to come to Nigeria,” the ITTF chief said

He commended the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and the Lagos State Government for their commitment to table tennis, while hoping that the tournament would continue to set example for others.

Meshref said: “We are excited with what is happening in Nigeria when it comes to table tennis and we are thrilled by the commitment of those involved in the organisation of this championship. We believe that in no distant time, the tournament will rival others in Europe and Asia in terms of prize money. We must commend the NTTF and Lagos State Government for what they are doing to the sport. ITTF will continue to support this tournament. It is a model for others in the world.”

For the president of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Engr. Ishaku Tikon, the tournament has continued to set new records with over 32 nations competing this year. “We are grateful to our sponsors and we want to thank the sports-loving governor of Lagos State for his commitment to the tournament. I welcome every player to Nigeria this year,” the NTTF chief said.

Bello Wins National Women Singles Table Tennis Championship

National Women Singles Table Tennis Open Champion, Fatima Bello.

 

Champion of the All African games trial, Fatimo Bello has emerged winner of the National Women Singles Table Tennis Open Championship.

The competition hosted by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos saw Bello fight her way into the final.

Luck smiled on her after beating the likes of national player, Cecilia Otu-Akpan as well as returnee Ganiat Aruna to set up a final clash against former junior champion – Tosin Oribamise.

Despite not having the chance to compete in international tournaments like her opponent in the final – Oribamise, Bello made nonsense of the experience of her opponent.

READ ALSO: National Women Singles Open Serves Off On Friday

Oribamise who is considered to be Nigeria’s most travelled and experienced player in recent times, was no match to Bello who thrashed the Ekiti State-born Oribamise 4-0 (11 -7, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4) to take home the N200,000 star prize money.

An excited Bello said she is determined to make the Nigeria team to the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco.

“I’m very happy and excited about the victory. This is going to help me a lot because I won’t stop training and continue to work hard.

Training is the key to my success and hopeful I will continue to win. I actually started training two months ago for the trials and this Women Singles championship and I was expecting to win, so it is not something surprising.

As the first winner of this tournament which means I’m one of the best players in Nigeria, I will like to play abroad and do all my possible best if I get the opportunity. I’m looking forward to playing for the National team and excel with the team,” she said.

The tournament sponsored by the NTTF President, Ishaku Tikon had a major objective to rate female players and select team for major championships and the NTTF boss admitted that the objectives of the tournament were achieved.

“We have gotten the result of why we staged the competition. A new queen has emerged and the line-up according to their ranking has also been established, we are good to go and we are prepared to conquer Africa and we are on our way to dominating table tennis in the region,” Tikon said.

For the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, the performance of the players was encouraging and with constant training and regular competitions, the players would be ready to compete with the best.

Oladapo Returns Into ITTF Africa Executive Board

Table TennisNigeria’s Olabanji Oladapo has returned as Vice President Administration in the eight-man Executive Board of the Khaled El-Salhy (EGY)-led team of ITTF Africa.

Also, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, added another feather, as the lawyer has been elected as the Regional Vice President of Western Region at the Bi-Annual General Assembly (BGM) held in Agadir, Morocco.

Oshodi, who is also a Member of the Nominations Committee of ITTF, will be in charge of the Western region which include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

He is expected to coordinate the activities in this region with the aim of developing table tennis.

Khaled El-Salhy, who became the president of the second largest continental body under the ITTF was elected unopposed while Henry Djombo (CGO), Deputy President; Olabanji Oladapo (NGR), Vice President Administration; Hajera Kajee (RSA), Vice President Marketing; Berte Abou Bakary (CIV), Vice President Finance; Monqid Hajji (MAR), Vice President Media and Public Relations and Balla Lo (SEN), Vice President Technical were all elected unopposed.

For the regional Vice Presidents, Abdennour Kaci (Algeria) takes charge of Northern Region, Wahid Oshodi (Nigeria) is in charge of Western Region, Alfred Bagueka (Cameroon) is for Central Region, Andrew Mudibo (Kenya) to administer Eastern Region and Joe Carrim (South Africa) will take control of Southern Region.

The council members are Kamel Zaitouni (Algeria), Mahmoud Oumar (Djibouti), Jalal Hariz (Libya), Philippe Hao Thyn Voon (Mauritius), Abdelrahman El-Sallawi (Sudan) and Thomas Kiggundo (Uganda).

However, two more co-opted members are expected to be added through the ITTF-Africa Executive Council maiden meeting.

In his acceptance speech, Khaled El-Salhy pledged to uplift the fortune of table tennis in the continent, while calling for more support from national associations.

“I am highly honoured to be considered for another term in office and I want to that the congress for their trust and support.

“We are so ambitious for the future hoping that we can focus on development and marketing of the sport so that we can continue to grow the sport in Africa,” he said.

Countries that staged major competitions were also honoured for their efforts.

Over 18 national associations graced the BGM while the congress also commended Morocco for their efforts to stage a befitting ITTF Africa Senior Championships.

For 2017, Tunisia will host the African Junior and Cadet Championships in April while Congo Brazzaville is considering hosting the ITTF African Cup and Club Championship in July.

NTTF Picks 12 Players For ITTF African Juniors

ITTFThe Nigeria Table Tennis Federation has picked 12 players for the final phase of camping for the 2016 ITTF world junior championships in Cape Town, South Africa.

20 players were invited for a two-week camping exercise that was coordinated by Africa’s most decorated table tennis star, Segun Toriola at the national training centre of the Lagos national stadium.

Toriola said that the players have proven their mettle during the camp as most of them have improved their game with the aim of making the final list for the final phase of the camping.

After the final phase of camping, only eight players would be selected to represent Nigeria at the championship in November.

ITTF Nigeria Open Serves Off In Lagos

Table Tennis, Nigeria Open, ITTFThe much-anticipated 2016 ITTF Nigeria Open will serve off on Wednesday May 18 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun in Lagos.

Preliminary matches for unseeded players will kick-start the championship as over 55 players will be aiming for the 16 slots in the main draw of the competition in the men’s singles.

In the women’s singles, 38 players will jostle for the eight slots available in the main draw of the competition.

Already, virtually most of the European players have arrived for the championship with some of them slugging it out in the preliminary while all eyes will be on 2014 ITTF Star Player, Aruna Quadri who will be targeting his first World Tour title in front of the Lagos fans.

Over 120 players from 16 countries are taking part in the $46,000 prize money five-day championship, which is the biggest prize money in the ITTF Challenge Series in the world.

Meanwhile, President, Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, has lauded NTTF for their initiative in adding glamour to the competition every year.

“I am happy with what I am seeing and I hope we can sustain this tournament as it has become a pride to the continent with so many players across the world looking forward to be part of the competition,” he said.

Dalung Tasks Sports Federations On Sponsorship

Sports, Solomon Dalung, Sports federationsSports federations still waiting for funding from the Federal Government have been asked to attract sponsorship from the private sector.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, made the call on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He advised the federations to look inwards by creating programmes and events that would draw sponsorship from the private sector.

Mr Dalung stressed that they needed to emulate the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) by generating funds to run their programmes.

He commended the NTTF for organising various championship which he said helped to discover young talents.

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.

Olympic Qualification: Segun Toriola Targets History In Sudan

Segun ToriolaAll eyes will be on Segun Toriola when the 2016 Africa Olympic Qualification Tournament begins in Khartoum, Sudan from February 16 to 18, 2016 as he aims to become the first African to play in seven Olympics.

The former five-time Africa champion holds the record of becoming the first Nigerian to feature in six Olympic Games after the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Toriola made his debut at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics in Spain, and since then, he has made it to all the Olympics with his best record of reaching the Men’s Singles 1/16 final at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, beating amongst others former world number 1, Belgium’s Jean-Michel Saive as well as Canada’s David Zhuang.

His 1/32 match-up with Jean-Michel Saive was seen by many as one of the highlights of the Men’s Singles Tournament. He narrowly lost 4-3 to heavily favoured South Korea’s Oh Sang-Eun in the round of 16.

His fifth Olympic appearance in 2008 made him the first Nigerian man to appear at five Olympics. This feat was achieved four years earlier by sprinter Mary Onyali and also in 2008 by another table tennis player Bose Kaffo.

With his participation in the 2012 Olympics in London, he became the only Nigerian athlete to feature at six Olympics. He therefore joined João N’Tyamba of Angola and Maria Mutola of Mozambique as only third ever African athlete to compete in six Olympics.

Having narrowly missed the automatic qualification at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville following his quarterfinal loss to Congo Brazzaville’s Wang Jianan, Segun Toriola will be hoping for one of the two slots available in the men’s event in Sudan.

As the most successful table tennis player in Africa, all eyes are fixed on the Nigerian as he aims to become the first African to play in seven Olympics.

According to the President of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the tournament hopes to open a new chapter in the history of table tennis in the continent with Segun Toriola on the verge of history while the host – Sudan hopes to stage a colourful event.

“It will be a very big surprise and a real honour for Africa Table Tennis to host such Top 16 Cup followed by the African Qualification 2nd Tournament for 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

On whether Congo Brazzaville can nominate their second Chinese import for the qualifiers, the ATTF boss said; “In-spite of the African qualification tournament for 2016 Rio OG, it will take place in Khartoum – Sudan on February 16 to 18, 2016 just after the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup, and the eligibility for such event is for all nominees having valid passports (i.e. according to IOC eligibility), the same rules already applied for the 11th African Games as the 1st qualification event to 2016 Rio OG.

“This means that as Congo Brazzaville still entitled to send one entry in each single event (men & women), thus they can nominate HU Bin in men & also LI Yuheng in women if they wish to do so.”

He added: “All African Associations entitle to send two entries (men) + two entries (women) for the African Qualification Tournament in Sudan (16-18/2/2016) except for Sudan as the host to have 4 men + 4 women, Congo Brazzaville to send 1 man + 1 woman, Nigeria to send 1 man + 1 woman, while for Egypt has no chance to send any entries in both. This is due to the already qualified players from the 1st stage of qualification in Brazzaville (September 2015) with 4 men + 4 women including (2 from EGY, 1 from NGR & 1 from CGO), especially all those qualified players already confirmed by their NOCs to play in 2016 Rio OG.”

Segun Toriola has won multiple medals in continental and international singles tournaments. Some of his important achievements include winning the African Table Tennis Singles Championships four times in 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2 Doubles Championships in 1994 and 1992. He also has a Commonwealth Singles Championship gold medal which he won in Manchester in 2002.

 

Toriola Pulls Out Of African Senior Cup

Segun ToriolaNigeria’s experienced table tennis player, Segun Toriola, has pulled out of this year’s International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Senior Cup serving off in Yaounde, Cameroon on Tuesday.

According to a release by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Toriola will not feature due to fatigue and ill-health.

The six-time Olympian, who was hoping to use the tournament to assess other players ahead of the September All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo, says he is disappointed at missing out of the event.

He expressed optimism that ‘Team Nigeria’ will do well at the championship.

Home grown talent, Kazeem Makanjuola, has been called up to replace the 40-year old.

In reaction, he said: “I am very excited that I was considered to step into the shoes of Segun Toriola after he withdrew due to ill-health and I understand the confidence that NTTF repose on me and I must ensure I don’t fail them in Cameroon.

“Also, this has afforded me the rare opportunity to make my second appearance at the tournament after losing to El-Sayed Lashin in 2013 in the quarter-final stage while I defeated him during the Club Championship at same event. For me, I see this as an opportunity to prove myself and make my country proud”.

Nigerian Table Tennis Players, Weightlifters Start Preparation For 11th AAG

AAGThe Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has called up 20 players to resume camp for the 11th All-Africa Games (AAG) holding in Brazzaville, Congo.

Chief Coach of the Nigeria table tennis team, Nosiru Bello, said that the invited players were selected based on their performance in some of the international and national competitions in the last one year.

Africa’s most decorated table tennis player, Segun Toriola, and 2014 ITTF star player, Aruna Quadri, topped the list of 10 male players invited to camp.

Also, Seun Ajetunmobi, who has been out of the national team in the last two years will be returning to the team as one of the invited players.

Other male players include Ojo Onaolapo, Kazeem Makanjuola, Olaniran Boboye, Olawale Fagbamila, Hammed Hafeez and junior sensations, Nurudeen Hassan and Olasunkanmi Oginni.

The female players will be led by Germany based Funke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong, while others are Cecilia Otu-Akpan, Janet Effiom, Rashidat Ogundele, Bosede Odusanya, as well as junior sensations, Tosin Oribamise, Ajoke Ojomu and Halimot Ayinla.

10 players made up of five male and five female will make the final list to AAG.

Similarly, the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF) has also invited 30 lifters to camp in Abuja for the AAG in September.

The weightlifters were selected from the just concluded national trials in Ibadan, Oyo State.

According to a statement from the federation, Andrew Ekanem has been appointed as the Head Coach and is expected to work with four other coaches for the games.