by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
Chair of the Local Organising Committee and now Chair of the ITTF Nominations Committee; he believes the match has lifted the fortune of the sport in the continent.
He spoke on the imaginative and prescient to make the match rival a few of the finest in the world.
“We proceed to plan forward. We have reviewed the final two years and now we glance out for areas the place we are able to enhance the occasion. We begin planning early on how one can make it a greater match.
Quite a number of members of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation and Lagos State Government attend or watch on-line the finest worldwide occasions and we attempt to be taught from what the organisers there are doing. We additionally choose up suggestions from different main sports activities occasions. We don’t relaxation on our previous successes. It is because of this that the Nigeria Open continues to be the finest worldwide sports activities occasion in Nigeria. This 12 months we’re fairly certain that we are going to have a bigger variety of prime gamers and that makes for a extra aggressive match.
Quite a lot of thanks goes to our sponsors throughout completely different classes. Most importantly the NTTF continues to obtain the help of the Lagos State Government and for this we are saying a giant thanks to His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State and his sports activities crew specifically. The infrastructure help is essential to the internet hosting of the occasion and the human sources, which they dedicate to the occasion makes our work simpler.
The help of Chief Kessington Adebutu – Chairman Baba Ijebu Sports Bet has seen this occasion develop to an excellent world class occasion. A bunch of personal sector companions have absolutely adopted this occasion as their very own and it continues to reinforce the narrative of Lagos as a significant sports activities tourism vacation spot in Africa. The President NTTF, Engr Ishaku Tikon has additionally proven his full dedication to making sure the continuity and progress of the occasion together with different NTTF occasions. Importantly the ITTF and their World Tour Sponsor – Seamaster group have additionally recognised the half this occasion performs in the growth of desk tennis abilities in Africa as it offers our African gamers the likelihood to compete with the finest gamers in the world proper right here on the continent earlier than their followers.
The pleasure that surrounds the occasion continues to draw the prime gamers. The environment created by the followers is completely different from some other occasion in the desk tennis world. Drumming, clapping, singing and supporting the gamers continuous inspired these gamers to place in wonderful performances.
Word of mouth in the desk tennis world is that Lagos is the place to be. Our occasion and all the accompanying razzmatazz is the face of recent desk tennis. The Nigeria Open does sport and leisure in the proper stability. We should additionally thank our companions particularly Baba Ijebu, Eko Hotel and Suites, Unilever and a number of others who proceed to offer unbelievable hospitality to all the individuals. Our worldwide and native companions are certainly true companions in each sense of the phrase. Without them we couldn’t put this occasion on.
We benchmark ourselves towards world requirements in sports activities. For me, it’s crucial that we should solely have a look at occasions like Wimbledon, the French Open as fashions for the place we’re heading. There isn’t any cause we are able to’t meet these requirements not less than by way of group and presentation. Even if our amenities will not be of these requirements we should at all times ask ourselves, are we doing the finest with what we now have bought?
It is a whole lot of exhausting work and creativity. Many folks working exhausting and volunteering their time to make sure that we produce the finest we are able to. The large help the media offers in masking our occasions. Right from Supersport’s stay protection and all our different tv, radio and newspaper protection, the NTTF is actually grateful for the protection and help we obtain throughout board. From 12 months to 12 months we carry on looking for methods to enhance the occasion.
More fine quality performances, higher consideration to particulars in assembly ITTF requirements; this 12 months we anticipate the largest variety of prime 100 gamers throughout each female and male classes. The enquiries we now have been receiving even earlier than the match prospectus was launched tells us to anticipate a bumper occasion.
We shall even be kicking off the occasion this 12 months by additionally internet hosting the National Junior League and the ITTF Africa (Western Region) Singles Championships to usher in the Nigeria Open. So we moist the followers appetites with the better of junior desk tennis and this additionally helps to organize our younger gamers for the Under 21 occasion at the Nigeria Open. It will probably be three thrilling weeks of desk tennis.
The uniqueness is created by the followers. The manner they respect and help all gamers is second to none. They actually increase the roof. Nigerian followers actually love their sport and the undeniable fact that we now have 4 or 5 prime world class gamers offers the followers one thing to cheer. When gamers enter the Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, venue of the match, they get a buzz and a cost like no different wherever in the world besides in fact the prime venues in China, Japan and Germany, the desk tennis superpowers. We are fairly assured that now we’re coming fairly near these nations.
Lagos State holds a starring function as standard. The help of the state by way of the infrastructure, transportation, hospitality and human sources they put at our disposal is very large. Their workers, who work on this venture with the NTTF proceed to accumulate the data that’s so necessary for internet hosting prime class occasions. Lagos has over the years continued to develop its capability on this regard and it’s nicely on its method to fulfilling the imaginative and prescient of the authorities to be a significant participant as considered one of the world’s prime sports activities tourism locations.
It is that this that the ITTF has acknowledged and led to them appointing Dr. Kweku Tandoh (Executive Chairman), Lagos State Sports Commission as the Tournament Director for this occasion. He brings with him over 30 years’ expertise in sports activities administration and this will solely assist improve the match.
We began this match as a manner of growing our younger gamers by bringing the finest gamers in the world to come back to Nigeria to play towards our gamers and provides our gamers a possibility to be taught from the finest. The high quality of our prime gamers now tells us that this methodology has been profitable. But we have to work more durable so we are able to develop a big pool of male and particularly feminine gamers who can now go on and conquer Africa and the world; the subsequent era of Toriola, Aruna and Oshonaikes. It continues to develop past our wildest desires.
We anticipate roughly 30 to 40 gamers in the world’s prime 200 and a sizeable quantity being in the prime 100. For a match of this dimension that could be a unbelievable coup. The likes of Omar Assar, the Pharaoh of Lagos as he’s fondly recognized and world no.16, will lead a bevy of prime class stars together with in fact Africa’s favorite son Aruna “the forehand” Quadri.
We have gamers who’ve between themselves gained over ten ITTF Tour and Challenge titles. We are additionally anticipating gamers from over 30 nations and really importantly a younger crew from China to take part.
It is a world class discipline and this attests the high quality and significance of our occasion on the world scene. Nigeria ought to rightly be pleased with this occasion.”
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