Owing to the new normal caused by Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers of the annual Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Championship, have limited this year’s events to just two categories.
The annual event which is in its 52nd edition, is the oldest, uninterrupted sporting tournament in the country and is scheduled to hold between November 30 and December 1 inside the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
This 52nd edition is expected to be organised in line with Covid-19 protocol laid down by the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) and Federal Ministry of Health with players battling for honours in the men and women’s singles events. There used to be 17 categories before Covid-19 crept in.
According to Mr. Ayodeji Okoya-Thomas, this year would be the sixth edition without the initiator who passed on after the 46th edition in 2014.
“We have decided to organise this year’s tournament being the 52nd edition in order to ensure the tournament continues uninterrupted being one of the oldest sporting competitions in the country.
“We will surely observe the laid-down COVID-19 protocol for all participants and guests during the competition. As usual we will reward outstanding players and we believe this competition will also help to prepare Lagos State athletes for the forthcoming National Sports Festival in Edo State,” he remarked.
He added: “The competition has been the grooming ground for table tennis stars in the country and we believe that more stars would also emerge this year having seen some of them moving to the senior national team like Olajide Omotayo who now plays professionally in Europe.”
David Fayele and Bose Odusanya are expected to defend their titles again this year having retained them in 2019.
The annual tournament is organised by the family of late Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas.
It started in 1968 with former national coach, Babatunde Obisanya being the winner of the men’s single of the inaugural edition. It is staged in collaboration with the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) under the technical supervision of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA)