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.

Aruna Quadri Thanks Fans After Nigeria Open Victory

Aruna Quadri Thanks Fans After Nigeria Open Victory
Nigerian table tennis star and winner of the Men’s Singles of 2018 ITTF Nigeria Open, Quadri Aruna. with the runner-up, Hachard Antoine from France (right), during the closing ceremony of the tournament at the Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos on August 12, 2018.

 

Nigerian table tennis star Aruna Quadri has thanked the fans who supported him to win the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Nigeria Open 2018.

The world’s no 18 won the tournament on Sunday after defeating his opponent from France, Harchard Antoine, at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere area of Lagos.

“If not for my fans that supported me all the way, this victory would not have been possible and so, I want to thank the people for standing by me,” he said.

Quadri, who is the first Nigerian to win the ITTF, claimed a $5,000 prize and another $200 courtesy of the fair play award which was awarded to him.

Similarly, the best Nigerian home-grown player of the tournament, Jamiu Anyawale, was rewarded with a cash gift of $200.

Antonie, who is from France, was rewarded with $2,500 for emerging as the first runner-up of the men’s singles, while Guo Yan from China went home with $5,000 for winning the women’s singles.

Yan’s fellow compatriot, Sun Chen, was also awarded $2,500 for emerging as the first runner-up of the women’s singles.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has congratulated Quadri on his emergence as the first Nigerian to win the competition.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode assured table tennis fans that the state government would support the tournament in a bigger edition in 2019.

He said, “This is a major improvement from last year’s competition and again for the very first time in the last six years, we found a Nigerian winning the men’s singles and this brings a lot of excitement for me because I have been supporting table tennis and I know that next year’s tournament will be more exciting than this.”

“As a government, we are going to put more support; we put more financial support so that we can attract more people and also encourage more Nigerians to participate.

“You know we actually gave bonus to Nigerians that have qualified and that is also to encourage more of our own local players to compete internationally,” the governor added.

Kerber Out Of Birmingham, Vows To Fight To Be Fit For Wimbledon

World number one, Angelique Kerber has suffered a pre-Wimbledon injury scare, pulling out of this week’s Aegon Classic at Edgbaston due to a recurrence of a hamstring problem.

The German is also unsure whether she will be able to play at Eastbourne next week due to problems with the left hamstring strain which forced her to retire during her third-round match in Madrid.

Kerber had a disappointing clay court season and went out in the first round at the French Open. She said the injury flared up again when she returned to the courts last week.

Kerber is the latest big name to have pulled out of the Aegon Classic following Simona Halep’s withdrawal with an ankle complaint.

Kerber is chasing an elusive first title this year after failing to get past the third round in her last five tournaments.

The 29-year-old has struggled to impose herself in recent months and her only appearance in a final this year was at the Abierto GNP Seguros competition at Monterrey in April, where she lost to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Eastbourne International tournament begins on June 25 with Wimbledon getting under way a week later.

Nigeria, Egypt Seeded for ITTF World Championships Doubles Event

ITTFAfrica’s super powers – Nigeria and Egypt – confirmed their superiority on the continent as the two nations have been included in the seeding list of the doubles event of the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation World Championships taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany.

In the seeding list released by the table tennis ruling body, events like 2015 World Championships, 2016 ITTF – European Championships, 2016 ITTF – Oceania Championships, 2017 ITTF – Asian Championships, 2016 ITTF – African Championships and 2016 ITTF – Latin American Championships count for the doubles seeding for 2017 World Championships.

In the 32 pairs seeded in the men’s doubles, Nigeria’s duo of Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo are the Africa’s highest ranked men’s doubles, occupying 22 while Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Saleh are seeded 26th.

In the women’s doubles seeding, Africa champion – Egypt’s Yousra Helmy and Dina Meshref are rated 19 while Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike and Cameroun’s Sarah Hanffou are 32nd in the seeding list.

Unlike in the men and women doubles which have players from Nigeria and Egypt, in the mixed doubles, three African teams were seeded.

African mixed doubles champion – Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref are seeded 12 while Nigeria’s Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike are rated 18 with Egypt’s duo of Mohamed El-Beali and Yousra Helmy are 22 with the Algeria’s duo of Sami Kherouf and Lynda Loghraibi rated 32 in the seeding list.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima are named as the top seeds in the Men’s Doubles event at the 2017 World Championships which commence on Monday May 29 in Dusseldorf.

In the Women’s Doubles event, the pairing at the top of the list is that of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota; for the Mixed Doubles it is Korea’s Lee Sangsu and Yang Haeun.

However, whether the top seeds prevail or not, new pairings will be crowned; no pair in any of the three disciplines has ever been crowned World champion, most unusually, no pair is defending the title won two years ago in Suzhou.

At the 2015 World Championships, China’s Xu Xin partnered colleague Zhang JIke to Men’s Doubles gold, after having earlier clinched the Mixed Doubles title in harness with Korea’s Yang Haeun. In the Women’s Doubles event, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling reserved the top step of the podium.

Now in 2017, the name of Zhang Jike does not appear on the Men’s Doubles entry list, nor does that of Xu Xin on the Mixed Doubles line-up. In the Men’s Doubles event Xu Xin partners Fan Zhendong; in the Mixed Doubles Yang Haeun is in harness with Lee Sangsu.

Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin occupy the no.3 seeded position behind the combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth; Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu reserve the no.4 seed spot.

In the Mixed Doubles, next in line to Lee Sangsu and Yang Haeun is the Hong Kong pairing of Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem. Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm are listed in the no.3 spot pursued by a second Hong Kong partnership of Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching.

In the Women’s Doubles the names of both Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling appear but with different Chinese partners. Liu Shiwen joins forces with Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling partners Chen Meng.

Cheng Meng and Zhu Yuling are the no.3 seeds, one place behind Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching; Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen are the no.4 seeds.

Accepted there are players on duty who have won doubles titles at World Championships but they are not with the partner with whom they gained success.

African Table Tennis Federation Honours Segun Toriola

Segun Toriola, Olympic Games, Table TennisThe African Table Tennis Federation has honoured the continent’s most decorated player Segun Toriola at the ITTF Africa senior championships in Morocco.

The African table tennis body is recognising Toriola for putting table tennis on the world map as the first athlete in any sport in Africa to attend seven Olympic games.

The ITTF President, Khaled El-Salhy believes Toriola has what it takes to break his own record by making it to Tokyo 2020.

Mr El-Salhy also commended the player for being an inspiration to young players in Africa with his 100% commitment to the sport on and off the court.

Meanwhile, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has confirmed Nigeria’s men’s team have qualified for the 2018 world team championships holding in Sweden.

Egypt and Nigeria qualified based on their performance at the 2016 World Team Championships held in Malaysia in which they finished among the top 36 countries in the world.

Togo also secured its place after finishing second in the fourth division at the World Team Championship in Malaysia.

Others are Algeria, Congo Brazzaville, Tunisia, South Africa and Senegal.

Gumel Hails Quadri As Shining Star Of Rio Olympics

Aruna Quadri, commonwealthPresident of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Mr Habu Gumel, has hailed the exploits of Table Tennis player, Aruna Quadri at the Rio Olympics, describing him as the shining star of the Games.

Quadri hugged the headlines when he became the first African Table Tennis player to ever play at the quarter finals of the Olympics before being knocked off the medal range by current number one player, China’s Ma Long.

An overwhelmed Gumel said that Nigeria, Africa and indeed the World were happy with the exploits of Quadri, who has sent out warnings to show that Nigeria was a powerhouse in Table Tennis.

“We’re extremely happy with the performance of Aruna Quadri.

He has lifted the name of Nigeria higher by becoming the first African to reach the quarter final of the Olympics.

“It is no mean achievement.

“We in Team Nigeria salute his gallantry and urge him not to lose focus as the sky no doubt will be his limit,” Gumel said.

The NOC President also congratulated the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Enitan Oshodi, for his exemplary leadership which had continuously brought good tidings to Team Nigeria.

“Let me also greet my friend, Oshodi for his vibrant leadership that has impacted on the Table Tennis players.

“Since Oshodi came on-board as President of Table Tennis Federation, Nigeria has recorded giant strides.

“We salute him and salute all other illustrious players who have given their all for Nigeria.

“I’ll not forget Segun Toriola whose vim and vitality has seen him play in seven Olympic Games. It is not a small achievement,” Gumel added.

Segun Toriola Relishes Seventh Olympic Games Appearance

Segun Toriola, Olympic GamesWhen the Rio 2016 Olympic Games kicks off on August 5, Segun Toriola will put his name in the annals of Olympic history as the first African to compete at seven Olympic Games.

When Segun Toriola made his debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games in Spain, he just wanted to fulfill his childhood dream of competing at the world’s biggest sporting event.

“I feel very great about my seventh Olympic Games because it is a record for me, Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.

“At the beginning of my career, I didn’t know that I’m going to play in seven Olympics but here I am heading to Rio and I am super excited for this feat,” he said.

Toriola, who is yet to get a national honour for his feat as the most successful table tennis player in Africa is focusing on doing well a Rio Olympic Games.

In his three decades’ career, Toriola has recorded some important achievements and this are;

* 4 African Table Tennis Singles Championships (1998, 2002, 2004, 2006) and 2 Doubles Championships (1994, 1992)

* A Commonwealth Singles Championship (2002) in Manchester (United Kingdom)

* A Commonwealth Doubles Championship and Singles Bronze Medal (2006) in Melbourne (Australia)

* 4 African Games Singles Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007),

* 4 Doubles Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007),

* 1 Mixed Doubles Gold Medal (1999, with Bose Kaffo; they also won silver in 2003)

* 3 Team Gold Medals (1995, 1999, 2003).

* Olympic Games: Featured in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and now 2016 in Brazil.

However, Toriola is optimistic of a good outing in Rio despite the lack of preparation, “‎The team is trying a lot to prepare ourselves because it is very important that we put up a good performance and make the country proud at the Olympics.

“We are preparing ourselves very well and hopefully we will have something to celebrate in Rio.”

On Aruna Quadri, he said: “Aruna Quadri is an experienced player considering what he has achieved as a player. I don’t think that he will be under unnecessary pressure because he is not going to be thinking about the pressure because it is only when an athlete thinks based on his status that the pressure will affect his performance.”

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.

Chinese Table Tennis Players Dominate At Kuwait Open

Table TennisGrand Slam Champions of China, Zhang Jike and LI Xiaoxia, have come back to reclaim the Men’s and Women’’ Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour tagged ‘Kuwait Open’.

The tournament, which served off on March 16, witnessed Jike, who won the title back in 2013, but has been suffering several defeats on the international tour in 2015, looking determined to prove himself again.

The highly anticipated men’s singles final saw the reigning Olympic champion face-off with current world number one, MA Long, who has had a great year in 2015, claiming all three major titles available in 2015 which include: World Champion, Men’s World Cup Champion, and World Tour Grand Finals Champion.

Jike eventually prevailed 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9) to break MA’s dominance.

After his victory, the 28-year-old, whose last international singles title was at the 2014 Men’s World Cup, said: “Throughout the tournament, I was in form both physically and mentally, especially as the tournament progressed, things just went better. We know each other very well, so it’s normal that it was a close match. Even though I won 4-1, those 4 games were just by a 2-point margin”.

“I won because of my mindset. Ma Long is in top form lately, and has been winning many major titles in the past year, so I was ready to go all out to fight tonight. I think the most important aspect of competition is when both parties give their best to fight in the match, that’s most respectable”.

The Chinese also combined with his teammate, Xu Xin, to win the men’s doubles. The duo defeated Hong Kong’s HO Kwan Kit and TANG Peng 3-1 (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5) to strike gold in Kuwait.

In the women’s singles event, LI Xiaoxia became the first female player to successfully defend her title, after beating 2015 World Champion, DING Ning, 4-1 (11-6, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8).

“I haven’t been having systematic training for quite some time due to my injuries, so I have never thought that I could win. I think my mentality helped in my victory, because I came here without any expectations,” stated the surprised champion.

In an all-Chinese women’s doubles final, DING joined forces with world’s number one, LIU Shiwen, to overcome teammates LI and ZHU Yuling 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and avenge both their losses against the Grand Slam Champion in the singles event to take home the title.

The under-21 men and women’s titles were won by Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Japan’s Hina Hayata.

The 2016 ITTF World Tour Super Series continues in Qatar from March 23 – 27, 2016, with the world’s top table tennis stars competing in the city of Doha.

APGA Elects Victor Ike Oye As New Chairman

apgaDr. Victor Ike Oye has emerged the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), with the former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, clinching the National Secretary position.

Before the event started, there were rumours of a court order stopping the convention but after a directive from the outgoing National Chairman, the party’s legal adviser cleared the air.

The convention, which took place at the Women Development Center, Awka, had a total of 740 delegates from the six geopolitical zones of the country and happened eight years after the last convention was held, laying to rest projections of disintegration of the party.

The new National Chairman promised to take the party to new heights through building a new and cohesive political movement founded on mutual love, peace and fraternity, devoid of bitterness and acrimony.

The outgoing National Chairman, Victor Umeh, made a well-tailored speech on the achievements of the party and urged the new executive to continue in a higher dimension.

Moving further, the convention moved for the dissolution of the existing body of the National Working Committee, after which the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinwe Nwaebili, moved a motion for the approval of the election of the members of the National Working Committee of the party.

The nominees were called upon and with an unanimous voice vote, they were elected and sworn in.

El-Rufai Bans Fertilizer Allocation To Traditional Rulers, Others

El-RufaiKaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has banned the allocation of fertilizers to traditional rulers, politicians and other elites in the state.

The Governor also directed that fertilizer stocks should be sold directly to local farmers from designated sales points.

In a statement issued by the Governor’s Spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, on Saturday, Governor El-Rufai gave the directive shortly after he paid an unscheduled visit to the fertilizer warehouse of Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture at Dankande village along Kaduna-Zaria Express Way.

El-Rufai made it clear that his administration will not condone injustice and acts of discrimination that would be a disadvantage to ordinary citizens.

During a meeting with the leadership of the Northern Christian Elders Forum on Friday, Governor El-Rufai had said that the Kaduna State Government has concluded plans to merge some of the state ministries, and also cut down the number of Commissioners into the State Executive Council in order to cut down the cost of governance.