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Paralympians dominate second Valuejet rPara Table touney

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Nigerian player at the ValueJet Table Tennis Open, which ends today at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Experienced Paralympians, Tajudeen Agunbiade, Olufemi Ajayi, and Ahmed Koleosho and debutants, Isau Ogunkunle, Faith Obazuaye, and Victor Farinloye, emerged victorious in their cadres at the second Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open.

The event ended yesterday at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

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Two Sydney 2000 Paralympics Games gold medalists, Agunbiade and Alabi clinched the class 10 and nine titles respectively after defeating their opponents to secure victorious.

Unlike Agunbiade and Alabi, who had to wait till the final day to know their fate, Ogunkunle, Obazuaye, Farinloye, and Koleosho were already crowned winners in class four, 10, seven, and three respectively a day earlier.

Among the 200 players that featured in the tournament, some made their debuts in the national competition with the sole aim of beating the established stars.

But, their intention was thwarted as the much-experienced Paralympians showed class by halting the invitation of the upcoming players into the national team.

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For Obazuaye, a silver medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, the tournament has boosted her confidence heading to Tokyo, especially at a time they are all in the national camp for the Tokyo 2021.

“I am so happy that I could compete this year considering what the COVID-19 pandemic has cost the whole world. We could not compete internationally while locally we have not been able to compete.

“I am also happy that the sponsor of this tournament kept faith to bankroll again this year and allowed more players within the country to compete. I am so happy that I am eagerly looking forward to Tokyo 2021 in Japan,” the Edo State-born athlete said.

Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Technical Director, Adesoji Tayo hailed the sponsors for their support amid the COVID-19 pandemic while appealing to corporate bodies for more support to the para-athletes ambition, who have continued to put the country on the world map.

The championship was organised by the Sunday Odebode Foundation in collaboration with the NTTF and the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).

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