As one of the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus tournaments in 2019, the prize money for this year’s Nigeria Open has been jerked up to $60,000 (N21m).
Also, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has named a three-man referees team for the Africa’s elite championship holding on August 7 to 11 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The success recorded at previous Nigeria Open prompted the world table tennis ruling body to list the tournament among its Challenge Plus with an improved prize money and global coverage.
From the $46,000 (N16.1m), players will now share $60,000 at the five-day championship as total prize money. Winners in the men and women singles will now get $7,000 (N2.45m) each for their efforts.
Aside the prize money, there is also an improved ranking point for every player that features in the tournament and this will help to attract top players across the globe.
This development has made Nigeria the first African country to stage the ITTF Challenge Plus while Morocco will host one of the ITTF Challenge late this year as well.
From the six events, the event has been increased to seven including mixed doubles.
Algeria’s Abdallah Boudjahem will head the referee’s team while South Africa’s Rodrique Volkwyn is the Deputy Referee and Nigeria’s John Peters as assistant referee.
For the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Wahid Enitan Oshodi, the management of the global sponsor – Seamaster and ITTF should be commended for considering Nigeria as one of the host of the Challenge Plus due to the excitement that the Nigeria Open continues to attract globally.
Prior to the Nigeria Open, Lagos will also be hosting national junior and team championships while the African Club Championships and ITTF African Cup will hold on July 31 to August 5 with the ITTF African Cup serving as the continent’s qualifiers for the 2019 ITTF World Cups in Chengdu, China.