Lagos comes alive for maiden Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Lagos comes alive for maiden Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Faith Obazuaye - Silver medalist Common Wealth

The much-anticipated Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open serves off on Thursday December 19 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos with hundreds of players aiming to share from the N10.8m purse.

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

For Rio Paralympian, Ahmed Koleosho, the tournament would 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.

For the President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Ishaku Tikon, 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 come 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. We are excited and we can 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,” the NTTF boss said.

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

“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 leverage to stage and be listed among the ITTF tournament in near future. Our players will also be exposed to competition among themselves and other players coming to Nigeria for the championship,” Odebode said.

Before the kick off of the tournament on Thursday December 19, from December 16 to 18, an ITTF classifier, Elsayed Mehrem has been in Lagos to classify some of the Nigerian players to their various classes

Ahmed Koleosho - Rio 2016 Paralympian

Source : ATTF 

Players talk tough for 1st Valuejet Para Table tennis Open

Vaulejet Para Table Tennis Open

Nigerian players aiming to be part of the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open believe they will not be pushovers against the visitors.

Already, eight countries including host – Nigeria have been confirmed for the three-day tournament holding Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

From Nosiru Sule, Atlanta 96 Paralympic bronze medalist, the tournament is a good opportunity for upcoming players to showcase their talents.

“I am so excited that we are hosting this kind of championship for the first time in Nigeria. There is no doubt that the presence of teams from Egypt and South Africa will make the tournament competitive and I am sure Nigerian players will not want to play second fiddle to the visitors. Having featured in three Paralympic Games, this is good development for Nigeria that our players will have the opportunity to test might with their foreign counterparts in Africa,” Sule said.

Like Sule, Faith Obazuaye, a silver medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this is another platform for her to display her talents particularly against the visiting teams. “When I won the class 10 in Egypt earlier this year, many people are still doubting my ability and now that we are hosting an international tournament, I hope I can show them what I am capable of doing. It promises to be exciting in Lagos and I am eagerly looking forward to make the podium,” the class 10 African champion said.

For Tajudeen Agunbiade, who had already secured his passage to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan, the tournament would give opportunity to shake off their rustiness after the qualifiers in Egypt earlier this year. “We have not been able to compete internationally since the qualifiers in Egypt, I think having this kind of competition will surely help us to assess ourselves and shake off for Tokyo 2020. Some of the players coming from Egypt have also qualifiers for the games and this is a good way to test our might against them,” Agunbiade said.

Apart from Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa, other teams coming to Lagos include Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.

From Monday December 16 to 18, the ITTF classifier will classify the players to their classes while the tournament will kick off on December 19 to 21 with the top three in each event getting prize money for their efforts. 44 titles will be competed in class 1 to 10 in singles and team events for men and women.

Source : ATTF