The Lagos State Government has described its support for the hosting of Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open tagged Lagos 2017 as one of the several ways of making the state a sports destination in Africa.
The fourth edition of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) sanctioned championship gets underway inside the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
The Special Adviser on Sports to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Deji Tinubu said that the policy thrust of the government of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is to drive the tourism potential of the state with sports, while also make Lagos the sports hub of Africa.
Tinubu, who is also noted that by playing host to international competition such as the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, it would drive foreigners to the city while it will also open the state to the world.
To Tinubu, the city of Lagos will play a good host to all the players at this year’s tournament, which had seen the venue becoming a beehive of activities in the last few days, adding that the players, especially the foreigners, would savour the hospitality of the government and the good people of Lagos for a very long time after the competition.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the event said all logistics to ensure a hitch free competition have been put in place.Â Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr. Enitan Oshodi, disclosed that with people of proven integrity and experience in the organisation of tournament of this magnitude in the LOC, the world should expect an excellent tournament this year.
Oshodi noted that the competition, which started four years ago with a pilot edition tagged International Table Tennis Classics to become one of the Challengers series of the ITTF, has grown from strength to strength with more entries coming to Lagos to fight for ranking points and the prize monies.
“This competition has afforded our local players to rub shoulders with their foreign counterpart and it has increased their exposure in the game,” Oshodi said.
Meanwhile, the duo of Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Shonaike have commended the Lagos State Government forits support for championship. The two players are leading Nigerian players contesting for honours at the event. They are equally Olympic stars.
Quadri, who broke African record to be the first player to reach the quarter finals of any Olympics at the Rio 2016 Games, expressed gratitude to Governor Ambode for giving the organisers the enabling environment to stage the ITTF Challenge, while Shonaike said the competition is a good ground to groom more stars for the country.