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Akanbi to defend regional title as Egypt’s Goda set for ITTF Africa Cup

By Samuel Ifetoye
16 May 2022   |   2:44 am
Defending champion, Rilwan Akanbi, has expressed readiness to successfully defend his title at the World Championships regional qualification for West African teams.

[FILES] Rilwan Akanbi

Defending champion, Rilwan Akanbi, has expressed readiness to successfully defend his title at the World Championships regional qualification for West African teams.

The regional championship holds from May 19 to 21 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

Speaking to The Guardian, yesterday, Akanbi, who won the three-day trials in the men’s category organised by the National Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for the World Championships in Lagos, said he is preparing to ensure his effort counts.

“Everybody that qualified for the ITTF championships from the trials is now in camp in Ikenne, Ogun State, preparing for the event in Lagos of which I am the defending champion in the regional contest.

“With the kind of training we receive here, I look forward to playing my first game at the championship. I am also undergoing personal training, aside from the normal sessions in camp, to get myself ready.

“Though I am still working on the weak areas of my game, I am not afraid of anything, even in the other events that include the African Club Championships and African Cup,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Egypt has enlisted world number one in U-15 and U17 events, Hana Goda in the country’s six-man team for the 2022 ITTF Africa Cup held from May 26 to 28.

The 14-year-old youngster, who has established herself as one of the most talented players to emerge from the continent, is a delight to watch on the table.

The Egyptian, who is ranked number one in the cadet championship in the last year, announced herself on the continent when she defeated former African champion, Olufunke Oshonaike and another of Africa’s top seeds, Dina Meshref, to become the first teenager to play in the final of the African Senior Championships in Cameroun last year.

Speaking on the championship in Lagos, Goda said: “I am so excited to play my first Africa Cup and looking forward to doing my best. I hope to just play freely and enjoy every moment by showing my best in Lagos.”