Molade Okoya-Thomas Championships, Asoju Oba Cup, serves off Dec. 27
The 54th Asoju Oba Table Tennis Cup, now rechristened Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Championship, will serve off on December 27 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Speaking at a press conference to unveil plans for this year’s championships, Deji Okoya-Thomas, said the decision to rename the tournament after the initiator was taken by the family.
“The family decided to name the tournament after its initiator because the former name was a title given to him while he was alive and since his demise, the title has been given to someone else, so it is pertinent that the family use his name for the tournament, which has remained the longest sports competition in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, the staging of the tournament every year is in fulfillment of the wish of the initiator. He thanked God that they were able to fulfil his wish.
“We cannot but acknowledge the impact the tournament has had on the fortune of the sport in the country. Some of its products have become global stars.
An obvious example is Olajide Omotayo, who has become an integral part of the national team and 2019 African Games champion.
“Of recent is the exploits of teenage sensation, Matthew Kuti, who was impressive in his maiden outing at the African Youth Championship in Tunisia, while his performance at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Contender in Cairo, Egypt where he claimed the U-11 and U-13 titles are confirmation of the impact the tournament has had on the players,” he stated.
On the category of events for this year, he said: “Only the senior category will be at stake given the available time. We have women’s and men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Para-table tennis will also be competing for the eighth time this year. The administrators’ singles event will also be competed for, so also is the coaches singles.”
Also speaking on the competition, Director, Sports Development, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Kolawole Moses, said the state will continue to support the tournament, as it has helped to unearth talents for the state and the country at large.
Vice President, International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Wahid Oshodi, commended the Okoya-Thomas family for keeping faith with the tournament, while hoping that more stars would come through it.
The tournament runs from December 27 to December 30 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.