Abia, Cross River, Bayelsa shine at third Offiong Edem table tennis tourney
Abia, Cross River and Bayelsa states were excellent at the third Offiong Edem youth table tennis tournament, which featured 42 youngsters drawn from six states of the federation.
In the competition sponsored by national table tennis star, Offiong Edem, Abia State’s Chinyere Okafor won the U-13 girls category by beating her Cross River State opponent, Esther Ekok, 3-2 sets in the final played at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
Another Abia State player, David Uche, defeated Daniel Ekok from Cross River 3-2 sets to win the U-14 boys’ category, while
Idoreyin Udoka of Cross River State beat Vivian Oku, also from Cross River, by three sets to two to take the U-17 girls’ class title.
In the U-17 boys’ category, Mathew John of Bayelsa State defeated Bright Joel of Cross River State 3-2 to become champion.
Speaking before the closing game, Edem said she was motivated to sponsor the competition by her desire to unearth fresh talents for the country.
She disclosed that the yearly competition would ensure that the prestigious game of table tennis does not die in Cross River State.
“This is the third edition of Offiong Edem Foundation Tournament. I decided to make it big this time because I want other states to benefit from the little I am going to share with their children.”
“I am happy that I brought all these children together to play, enjoy themselves, win themselves some prize money and get some training equipment because I know it is difficult to get these things.
“Of course, this equipment will last with them for about a year or so, pending when I will be here again. I have to do it every year to keep them in shape because I don’t want the game to die in Cross River State, and to encourage other players to be able to practice and be in good shape too,” she said.
To further motivate the participants, Edem said winners will N40, 000 each, while others will be rewarded according to their positions in each category.
The tournament attracted six participants each from Akwa Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River states.
Also speaking at the closing ceremony,
Zenith Bank’s Branch Manager, Nnamdi Uzoewulu, who said Cross River State was blessed with table tennis players, regretted that government has neglected the game over the years.
“We are proud of what Offiong Edem Foundation is doing… that is why we are supporting her because the game is fast disappearing in the state,” he said.
Abia State Table Tennis Chief Coach, Ifeoma Isaac, also commended the founder for coming up with the initiative to groom younger ones in the game.