Coronavirus: Nigeria Open tennis tournament cancelled

A tennis game used to illustrate the story

More events on the sporting calendar across the world are still being threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

In Nigeria, where the  Nigeria Professional Football League and National Sports Festival have been put on hold, another big event on the country’s sporting calendar has been cancelled.

In an official statement released Sunday, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said it has cancelled the 2020 edition of the Challenge Plus Nigeria Open scheduled for August 18 to 22.

The tournament which is Africa’s elite tournament, has attracted top global stars from the world’s top 200 players and the LOC has decided to cancel the tournament this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that has ravaged the globe.

The chairman of the LOC, Wahid Oshodi, said it was pertinent to be realistic about what is presently happening globally and that is why they have decided to cancel the tournament this year because nobody knows when the pandemic would disappear.

He stated that the athletes’ health is always the main priority because they are the main actors. We also have to think about the safety and health of the large numbers Of fans that throng the stadium to watch the event.

“We are pained that we have to cancel the tournament this year because all plans were in place to stage a befitting tournament while our sponsors are also looking forward to an exciting tournament considering what we witnessed in 2019. But we are constrained by this pandemic to cancel this year’s edition and we are looking forward to being part of the new World Table Tennis (WTT) series in 2021,” he said.

However, there are plans by the LOC, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) to stage a special invitational tournament toward the end of the year with top players across the world expected to grace the tournament.

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