By Femi Solaja
Bose Odusanya set a new tournament record at the 52nd Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup yesterday after she claimed her sixth women’s singles title of the oldest sporting event in Nigeria.
From 2015, Odusanya had been unbeaten in the final and again this year she claimed her title after beating Kehinde Oyeniyi 4-0 (11-1, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11) to emerge as champion at the two-day tournament held at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
She is the first player in the history of the tournament to claim the title consecutively six times in a row.
With the exit of men’s singles defending champion, David Fayele, in the quarter final, a former champion, Ahmed Adeyinka reclaimed the title again.
Fayele who had boasted of his intention to hold on to the title, was shocked in the quarterfinal by Augustine Emmanuel who put an end to the dream of the soldier/player with 4-2 (5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8) result.
Despite working his way to the last stage, Emmanuel was no match to Adeyinka in the men’s singles final as he was overwhelmed by the experienced opponent.
From the start of the tie, it was as if Emmanuel was going to humble another former champion but from the way and manner Adeyinka approached the match, it was clear that he had learnt from the downfall of Fayele in the quarterfinal.
In less than 30minutes, Adeyinka had defeated Emmanuel 4-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5) to wipe off the tears of losing in the final last year.
48 men and 25 women competed in the tournament which has continued to churn out stars for Lagos and Nigeria.
For the Director General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Gafar Bolowotan, the staging of the tournament this Covid-19 ravaged year by late Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas family was a confirmation of their commitment to grassroots development of the game and to keep the legacy of their father alive.