Third Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open begins today in Lagos
Third edition of the yearly Lagos Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open serves off today at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
The three-day championship, which will be in 45 events, is aimed at shaping up athletes for future events, especially next year.
Speaking on the occasion announcing the start of the competition yesterday, Chairman of the para-division of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Anderson Bankole, said the competition has proven that the country has talents who can compete with the best in the world as demonstrated in the past world event.
“I am happy that we are having this tournament again this year, especially with what our players did at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) tournament in France. Now, with this kind of competition, our players will be able to compete against themselves and it will also help us to rank them.
“It gladdens my heart that Valuejet has again remained committed to the sport and I hope others will take a cue,” Bankole said, adding that the firm has continued to show faith despite the global meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Executive Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku, the state remains dedicated to the championship, as we encourage athletes to work hard in order to be world best.
“We want to continue to raise the bar as a state and we believe hosting the tournament will affirm our position as the continent’s sports hub.
“On our part, we will continue to play a leading role in sports by uncovering and encouraging athletes to aim high.
“We believe that tournament like this will provide the platform for athletes to showcase their talents as well as sharpen their skills,” Aiyepeku said.
ITTF’s representative at the competition, Francisco Nutzo, said the contest would help the world body to establish the eagerness of the country to be looked into as one of the countries hosting major para tournament next year.
“This country is a well-known for table tennis and I am not surprised with what I am seeing. I hope at the end of the tournament, it can get listed on the ITTF for 2022,” he said.
According to Head of Corporate Communications of Valuejet, Adedamola Akingbule, the firm is committed to sponsoring the event, as it also plans to continue to grow the championship yearly.
Coordinator of the tournament, Sunday Odebode, said fans are going to witness the emergence of new stars in the mode of Christian Ikpoyi, who is rated number 10 in the world, to replace the ageing players.
The championship is organised by the Sunday Odebode Sports Foundation in collaboration with the Lagos State Sports Commission and with technical support from the NTTF. The championship ends on December 18.