Women’s singles defending champion, Bose Odusanya, will be aiming to hold on to her title when the 53rd Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Cup kicks off today at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Odusanya who has been dominating the women’s event since 2015 remains unbeaten in the tournament while she is also hoping to claim her sixth title against other top players expected to line up for the one-week tournament.
In the absence of the men’s singles defending champion, Ahmed Adeyinka who had relocated to the United States, all eyes will be on runner’s up Emmanuel Augustine who will aim to step into Adeyinka’s shoe this year.
However, Augustine will be ready to shield Rilwan Akanbi who has been in superb form lately with last weekend’s victory at the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSSTA)-organised two-day championships.
A confident Odusanya has promised to retain the title. “I think nobody can stop me again from winning the title this year because I am playing well, and I am in shape to win the tournament again.”
He admitted to be aware of the challenges ahead of him at this particular edition.
“I am quite aware of the challenge from some young players like Ifeoluwa Omotosho and others. But as it is at present, I am aiming for the seventh consecutive title this year,” Odusanya said.
Regarded as the oldest table tennis tournament in Africa, the annual tournament has been producing top stars for the country with the likes of Olajide Omotayo emerging from it to become African Games champion in 2019.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, nine titles will be competed for this year. They include; singles (men and women), doubles (men and women), mixed doubles, para singles standing (men and women), para singles sitting (men and women). The tournament ends on December 7.