The players tried to eat her cake and have it.
The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation on Sunday announced the suspension of a Team Lagos female player, Fatima Bello, for three years for dual registration.
The announcement was made by the federation secretary, Segun Oguntade, at the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos.
Mr. Oguntade said Bello was registered for both Delta and Lagos States.
According to the secretary, Bello was licensed with Lagos State but took an appointment with Delta since April 2010 till September 2012.
“Fatima is formally registered with Lagos State in the books of the NTTF, only for Delta State to lay claim to her as their athlete and they were unable to prove it.
“And we had an emergency meeting where it was decided to suspend her from all table tennis events for three years, with immediate effect,” he said.
Mr. Oguntade added that all the matches she played and won would be awarded to the losers.
Meanwhile, Lagos State on Saturday won a gold medal in the men’s table tennis team event after a thrilling match with Rivers, winning 3-0.
Jide Omotayo, 17, finished the game for Team Lagos by defeating Paralympian medalist, Femi Alabi, in the last set of the match.
Omotayo said the gold won was to fulfill their promise to the Lagos State Government.
“We promised the state seven gold medals and this is just a show of our determination and appreciation for all it did to prepare us for the festival,” he said.
Omotayo said that he was able to out serve the Paralympian because he played to his coaches’ instructions.
“After the first round, the coach introduced new tactics for me to use and it led to my victory over an older hand in the game,” he said. “And the impact of camping in China for a month really exposed us to better ways of playing the game and gave us an edge.”
Also reacting to the match, Oladele Kehinde of Team Rivers blamed their loss on the petitions against them that led to the postponement of the match.
The match was postponed from November 30 to December 1 because of petitions against the team.
“We were demoralised with the fact that after preparing for the game on Friday, we were told that it had been postponed,” Oladele said. “So, today (Saturday), we were just lukewarm toward the match, hence we lost.”