by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Also, there was a very similar reaction from another group of people, the local organising committee; they departed with an air of positive reflection.
Overall, the consensus of all concerned was that the tournament is improving year after year; the recent edition, the fourth, being the best to date.
Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF Africa Press Officer spoke to both Steve Dainton, the ITTF Acting Chief Executive Officer.
“Ensuring events in all corners of the globe is extremely important for the ITTF. As the only annual ITTF event in Africa for professional players, it is extremely important for the ITTF to continue to support the Nigeria Open. Once again we are very pleased with the turn out of players which has now grown coupled with the event organisation and most importantly the fantastic local vibe that the tournament brings to table tennis and the ITTF. It shows us that we can bring more events to Nigeria and in the near future perhaps we can even bring one of the top World title events to the country.” Steve Dainton
Likewise, Michael Brown, the ITTF and Africa-Oceania Development Co-ordinator, when speaking to Olalekan Okusan, was equally pleased with tournament’s step by step increase in stature
“The Nigeria Open continues to improve in terms of organisation, this is now the fourth year in which the event has been part of the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge and with each year an improvement is made on how certain elements of the tournament are organised. As the tournament was able to attract a number of athletes from various European and Asian countries, the tournament had a stronger global following than in previous years.
The ITTF supports all tournaments which are part of the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge. The Nigeria Open is a key event within these two products, as it is the only event within the African continent. Moving forward ITTF will be looking at further ways it can support such events to ensure a global reach is achieved. However it does take a strong Local Organising Committee to be able to host a successful event, which has been evident in Nigeria over the past five years and can hopefully continue moving forward. It would be exciting to see similar events in countries such as Ghana, South Africa and Kenya as well.” Michael Brown
To further increase the global reach of the event, efforts could be made to attract athletes from East Asia, China, Japan and Korea as well as the USA. These are key markets for table tennis and could assist in further growing the brand of the Nigeria Open, which in turn will assist in attracting more sponsors.” Michael Brown
Progress, we look forward to next year, an even better 2018 Nigerian Open.