The best 32 table tennis players across Nigeria will converge in Lagos on June 12 to battle for a share of the N1.2 million purse for the one-day Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge scheduled for the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The organisers selected the 32 for the one-day tournament following their performance from the last three national tournaments that included the 20th National Sports Festival held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The championship sponsored by Renewed Hope, Lagos is aimed to excite table tennis fans in Lagos who are always eager to cheer the players.
Sponsor of the tournament and Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Gafar Bolowotan, believes the excitement generated at the 2021 National Championship prompted him to bankroll the tournament with the aim to unearth new talents as well as encourage healthy rivalry among the players.
Backed by LSSC and organised by the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA) with technical support from the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), players are expected to arrive on Friday, June 11 for the tournament with the draw scheduled to hold the same day in readiness for the competition the next day.
The competitors will be drawn into four groups of four players, with the top two advancing to the next stage where the remaining eight will be drawn into two groups of four players each. The top two from the second stage advance to the semifinal of the championships.
Fatima Bello of G20 will stake her unbeaten run in the last three tournaments as she has dominated the women’s division in the country but she has to contend with her arch-rival Bose Odusanya of Lagos who will be able to call on home support.
Amadi Omeh, Azeez Solanke, and Rilwan Akanbi are champions in the last three tournaments and they will be up against one another again alongside U-21 national champion Taiwo Mati who will aim to claim his first senior title.
Also, World Table Tennis (WTT) star youth contender silver medalist Usman Okanlawon, as well as national cadet champion Samuel Boboye, will be up against their senior counterparts in what we could describe as the battle of the best in the country.
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