NTTF President, Wahid Oshodi
By Femi Solaja
Over N6.5million will be up for grabs as total prize money at the maiden Lagos International Table Tennis Classics holding in Lagos next month.
The competition, which is the highest prize money paying in the land, will see the winner in the men and singles event carting home N.8m and N.6m as the star prize. All players that make it to the round of 16 will also get cash rewards for their performance.
The tournament has the approval of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) and it is the highest prize money tournament in Africa, being organised by the Main Organising Committee (MOC) in collaboration with the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF).
Players will compete in the senior and junior categories made up of 10 events, while the tournament will be staged in accordance to ITTF and ATTF rules.
Meanwhile, the ATTF President, Khaled El-Salhy, has lauded the board of NTTF for staging the tournament, while disclosing that Nigeria might be considered for major tournaments in 2014.
“We will like to use this event as a test for ITTF/ATTF title event in the near future, he said.
ITTF/ATTF is looking to organise a brand new event next year tagged “2014 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup” which should be in the second half of June 2014 as qualification for ITTF World Cups next year, and we believe it will be good to start this competition in Nigeria. As I am hoping for a successful 2013, as well as envisaging that the Lagos International Classics will be among the ITTF World Tour Calendar in 2014 and this is to prove to ITTF that Africa
could host sanctioned events in a professional way,” the ATTF boss said.
However, chairman of MOC and President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, said that the championship is open to all ITTF affiliated associations, while junior events will be for players born on or after January 1, 1995, while hoping that more players will be unearthed through the competition.
“We believe that organising this competition will help our
players and expose them to other top players from other nations. We are hoping that it will be an annual event will help to improve the lot of the sport in the country,” Oshodi said.
He added that tournament is made possible by the support of the private sector and the Lagos State Government.
Deadline for players’ entry has been fixed for August 13, while qualifying matches in all events for Nigerian based players hold on August 22 to 23.
Officials from ITTF and ATTF will also be part of the tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium from August 26 to 31.