by Olalekan Okusan ITTF-Africa Press Officer
At the press briefing to be held prior to the commencement of proceedings, Kweku Tandoh, the Tournament Director, described this year’s tournament as the biggest so far, adding that with the quality of organization, players across the globe are now willing to be part of the event.
“We are so excited that the tournament is growing each year and this year we have more countries and players; for us, this goes to show that we are improving. We will continue to do that as long as we are getting the needed support, particularly the huge support from our title sponsor, Baba Ijebu and the host Lagos State Government. Everything is set and for the next five days, people will watch the best of table tennis in Lagos.” Kweku Tandoh
Likewise, Mounir Bessah, the Competition Manager, was positive. He recognised the fact that colour had been added and hoped that more players would be willing to be part of it in future.
“I am happy with the organisation. I believe the local organising committee has done a lot to raise the profile of this tournament. I see improvement every year.” Mounir Bessah
Positive words from Mounir Bessah, it was the same from Ishaku Tikon, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation.
“We remain grateful to the Lagos State Government for their unflinching support at ensuring that this tournament gets the needed attention globally. We hope others can take a cue from them”. Ishaku Tikon
Furthermore, there is a special incentive for Nigerian players; a fact made clear at the Press Conference by Babatunde Bank-Anthony, the Director General of the Lagos State Sport Commission.
“The Governor’s bonus for this year is that His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has instituted a bonus for Nigerian players who do well in all categories both Men Singles and Women Singles because we know that they may not get to win the titles. We will make use of the bonus wisely to encourage Nigerian players to go further and we believe that this will help them to at least improve and perform better”. Babatunde Bank-Anthony
No player has ever won either the Men’s Singles or Women’s Singles event since the event was staged as an official open international tournament in 2014. Olajide Omotayo and Esther Oribamise believe the host will not disappoint this year.
“We are all ready for the tournament this year because we have the quality to match the foreigners, we will give our best and hope for the best. The likes of Quadri Aruna, Bode Abiodun and Segun Toriola have always inspired us and shown us that we can be the best in the game. We are fully ready to see Nigerian players on the podium this year.” Olajide Omotayo
“We are all in good shape and I can tell you that all of us know what is at stake. Apart from the prize money we are also aiming to improve our ranking with this tournament. Esther Oribamise
In the Men’s Singles event Olajide Omotayo is the no.20 seed, in the Men’s Doubles the no.2 seed in partnership with colleague, Segun Toriola; Esther Oribamise is not seeded; in the Women’s Doubles, she partners Ajoke Ojomu.
2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Tuesday 7th August)