Funding, key to developing young table tennis stars, says Oshodi
President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, has said more funds need to be made available to allow the talents in the game of table tennis to flourish.
Nigeria failed to send its athletes to the recently concluded ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships in Tunis, Tunisia, due to paucity of funds. But the nation, however, qualified to the Youth Olympic Games with the sole ticket by Tosin Oribamise for the event scheduled for next year in Argentina.
Oshodi, who has been passionate with the growth of the game in the youth level, said this was why he ensured that the team did not miss the Youth Olympic Games unlike the one at Tunisia.
“It is a good feeling, a great reward for all the hard work that the table tennis family has put into supporting and developing these young players. It just goes to confirm that the future for table tennis in Nigeria is bright. I am happy for Tosin Oribamise.
“Proper funding will continue to expose our athletes to the best coaching, better tournaments and of course to keep them equipped. We must continue to try and find the money to get them playing on the junior professional tour. That is what the best countries do and we cannot do it differently.
“I want to thank friends of table tennis whose support has been wholesome.
Government has to find a way to take up the lions share in funding the junior players and helping the development of the game from the grassroots. We have the talents and we must back them up for proper development,” he said.
With his experience in sports administration spanning about 20 years, Oshodi said the decision of withdrawing athletes from any competition after so much effort put in training has been one of his saddest moments.
“I think this sad situation has actually been my lowest point in sports administration in the last 20 years I have been involved in table tennis.
To prepare programmes, get the children and the national team coaches working hard for three months and bringing the players to a great condition and then have the rug pulled out from under our feet because of funding issues at the last moment.
“It is a real blow to our development. A lot of personal and private funds went into our preparations and it all seems a waste now. To explain to these teenagers that they cannot go to the tournament after all the hard work was really difficult,” he stated.
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