Excitement as men’s singles serves off at Asoju Oba Cup
They came in their hundreds from schools and clubs hoping to be part of the 49th Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup, which men’s singles event serves off today.
The players, who are mostly competing in the cadet division, came with one ambition, which is to climb the podium during the grand finale on Friday December 1. But they are aware that they need to cross the hurdle of playing from the preliminary to the knockout stage. They are willing to do this under the watchful eyes of their coaches.
The officials had a torrid time completing the registration of participants, who thronged the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall for the kick-off of the oldest sporting tournament in Nigeria.
Apart from the cadet and junior players, who were in hundreds, the men’s singles participants were present on the first day to warm up ahead of the knockout round of the tournament.
According to the Secretary of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA), Ayobami Morakinyo, the turnout was overwhelming as the enthusiasm of the players showed that they are ready to enter the fray to contest for the coveted trophies in the 22 titles at stake.
“We are indeed overwhelmed with the turnout of players, particularly the cadet division. As at noon, we were still trying to sort out the registration so that we could start the tournament. But I am confident that we are in for a good time with the number of players, coupled with the interest they have shown in the tournament. I am sure that we can be looking forward to seeing another Atanda Musa being unraveled this year,” Morakinyo said.
In the men’s singles, all eyes will be on defending champion, Rilwan Akanbi and national junior champion, Azeez Solanke, who have both vowed to outshine each other this year.
Solanke, who narrowly lost 4-3 to Akanbi in the final of the 2016 edition, wants to win this time, while women singles champion, Bose Odusanya is hoping to fend off other contenders from dethroning her this year.
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