The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, has extolled the effort of former players to sustain the growth of table tennis in the country with the organisation of the second edition Efunkoya National Cadet Championship, which ended at the weekend in Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Omotoso, who was at the championships, said that the initiative would help the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) to unearth talents, while also empowering youngsters with educational scholarship.
“Coming into the Sports Hall of the National Stadium to watch this event is like a kind of homecoming. I remember in those days when I used to play competitions in this hall.
“And for me to come today and watch these cadets play, I think it’s just a reincarnation kind of thing; a reenactment of those days. And I see that the standard is very good, very high. The guys gave a good account of themselves because they played like real players.
“I think with people like these, there is the confidence that Nigeria can produce more Aruna Quadris and more Segun Toriolas, who can carry Nigeria’s flag anywhere in the world and hold their own,” he said.
MEANWHILE, at the three-day championships, Lagos State’s Mathew Kuti beat Kwara State’s Abdulfatai Abdulbasit 9-11, 11-9, 13-15, 11-8, 12-10 to retain the title in the boys’ category. Taiwo Akanbi also of Lagos State thumped Oyo State’s Kadijat Okanlawon 8-11, 14-12, 3-11, 11-6, 15-13 to win the female’s category, while Francis Sule overwhelmed Modupe Amoo nee Beyioku 11-3 to win in the veteran’s class.
Chairman of the Foundation, Babatunde Obisanya, stated that the chief aim of the event was to assist in discovering and nurturing young table tennis talents for the country.
Ten states and four clubs took part in the championship, where players competed in five events that included singles in boys and girls, doubles in boys and girls, and the mixed doubles as winners got cash rewards and education scholarships.
The late Efunkoya was a surgeon and medical practitioner, who was involved in table tennis’ administration in 1962 and became chairman of the then NTTF in 1963.