Nigeria Rules Mix Doubles

Nigeria rules mixed doubles as singles events take center stage.

CONTINENTAL table tennis powerhouse, Nigeria, lived up to the billings on Day Two of the second ITTF Africa Western Africa Region Championships as the country claimed the mixed doubles event on Tuesday in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Nigeria’s class in the mixed doubles was beyond doubt as four of the country’s pairs made it to the semifinal of the event, the final of which the duo of Azeez Solanke and Fatimo Bello won.

To be crowned champions, Solanke and Fatimo triumphed over Orok Etim and Vivian Oku with a commanding 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-5) win.

In the third-place match involving another Nigerian pair, Rilwan Akanbi, and Bose Odusanya, the duo beat Amadi Umeh and Hope Uduak 3 2.

Meanwhile, with the conclusion of the team and doubles events, all eyes are now on the singles events as challengers aim to dethrone Oba Oba Kizito of Cote d’Ivoire and Fatimo Bello of Nigeria who is the defending champions in the male and female singles categories, respectively.

Top seed Kizito is optimistic that he can weather the storm in Lagos to retain his title. Although Kizito had tasted defeat in the team event, the Ivorien is battle-ready for the singles. He said: “I am here to retain my title and from the look of things, it might look taxing for me this year because we have some good players, especially from Nigeria. But having watched most of the players, I am sure I can repeat my winning performance again in Lagos.” 

According to the format of the singles events, players have been drawn into groups with the top ones advancing to the knockout stage scheduled for Wednesday, November 3. The second ITTF Africa Western Africa Region Championships are taking place at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos, Nigeria.

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Ghana’s Table Tennis Prodigies

I can see that Nigerian players are very skillful and respectful at the table. This is one thing I think I have gained from them. Apart from that, I am here to have fun in Lagos, which is one of the most populous cities in the world

Blessing Labanti (Member of The Ghana National Team)

 

BLESSING Labanti and EmmanuellaYaa-Kyere are in the Ghanaian team at the ongoing ITTF Africa Western Region Championships.

It is the teenagers’ first trip outside the shores of their home country, Ghana. Understandably, therefore they are over the moon at their maiden inter-national experience at an ITTF regional tournament.

Labanti, a junior class two student of Arise International School, Accra Ghana, said this first voyage to Lagos would remain with her for a long time to come.

Despite her inability to compete favorably with some of the experienced players in the tournament, the 14-year-old said: “I am here to garner experience and learn from the older players. I started playing table tennis only six months ago. Since then I have been working hard to improve with each competition. 

 

“My coming to Lagos is an experience I will cherish for life. I have been reading about Lagos but now I am here. It is my first time traveling out of Ghana. I am really impressed with what I have seen so far in Lagos, especially the hospitality of the people. Since we arrived in Lagos, we have been meeting wonderful people who are willing to help us at all times. I hope I can make use of the few days we have left to tour the city. It is indeed a warm city,” she said.

For a 13-year-old aa-Kyere, coming to Lagos has been an eye-opener in terms of picking up new skills in table tennis. Her words: “I am really happy to be part of this tournament because this is my first time playing in an international competition as well as traveling outside Ghana.

“I can see that Nigerian players are very skillful and respectful on the table. This is one thing I think I have gained from them. Apart from that, I am here to have fun in Lagos, which is one of the most populous cities of the world,” she said.