After winning several titles at cadet and junior categories, Jamiu Azeez added the men’s singles title to his laurels after emerging winner at the 49th Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup.
Also, Bose Odusanya easily retained the women’s singles diadem after beating Alimot Ayinla 4-0 in the final.
Azeez, a semifinalist in 2015 dominated David Fayele in what could be described as a drab encounter to emerge victorious above the Union Bank Sports Club Fayele.
The fans at the venue were disappointed with Fayele’s display as the final failed to live up to expectation with Azeez thrashing the left-hand Fayele 4-0 to emerge as the new champion of the oldest sporting competition in Nigeria.
An excited Azeez said he was happy winning the title after several efforts at the biggest title. “I am so happy that my dream of being part of the winner of the prestigious competition came to pass.. I have been featuring in this competition as a cadet player and I also took part in the junior event which I had won several times. But I have never won the senior title as I came close to the title in 2015 but I was edged out in the semifinal stage. Now my dream has come true and I could say that it was a bit easier for me to claim the title,” he said.
Like Azeez, Odusanya whitewashed Ayinla 4-0 to retain her title in the women’s singles.
For the chairman of the grand finale, Oba Otudeko, the family of late Molade Okoya-Thomas should be commended for keeping faith with the tournament even after the demise of the initiator. “I must commend the children of Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas for upholding the ideal of their late father by ensuring that the tournament continues three years after the exit of their father. Sports is a unifying factor in Nigeria and table tennis is not an exception. I hope and believe we can get more superstars from this competition after the likes of Atanda Musa, Bose Kaffo and Funke Oshonaike came through it,” Otudeko said.
Over 336 players are competing in the cadet, junior and senior events of the tournament with 138 senior, 134 junior and 74 cadet players jostled for honours in the 22 titles at stake.