Defending champions, Muiz Adegoke and Bose Odusanya had an easy ride an easy ride to the knockout stage of the on-going Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup, just as former winners, Rilwan Akanbi and David Fayele, also progressed to the crucial stage of the competition.
The 55th edition of Nigeria’s oldest sports competition began yesterday with preliminary rounds at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Eight events, including men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as para class 1-5 (men and women) and para class 6-10 (men and women) are featuringin the three-day tournament, which serves as trials for the Lagos State Table Tennis Association’s (LSTTA) squad for the 2024 National Sports Festival.
Akanbi, who won the tournament in 2021 and was a finalist in 2022, is eager to wrestle the title from Adegoke.
“I know that everybody is eyeing the title this year being a milestone event and I want to reclaim the title I surrendered two years ago. There is no doubt that all other players are looking up to us, but I am ready to become champion again.
“I competed at the third Quadri Aruna tournament and made it to the final in the men’s singles, where I narrowly lost the title to Amadi Umeh. Now, I am one of the favourites for the title and I am looking forward to competing in the final come Wednesday December 20,” Akanbi said.
Meanwhile, LSSTA chairman, Tunji Lawal, has commended the late Molade Okoya-Thomas family for sustaining thelegacy of their father,evenwith the economic challenges.
“I am happy that we have another chance to test the abilities of our players through this tournament and this is a preparatory competition for next year’s quarterly league that will be organised by the association. There is no doubt that some players are coming through the ranks and we hope we can identify more young players from this kind of competition,” Lawal said.