The dominance of Fatimo Bello of G20 Club in women’s table tennis singles came to an end at the Lagos Top 16 Invitational Table Tennis Challenge as Ondo’s Taiwo Mati and Bose Odusanya from Lagos claimed the titles at the one-day tournament held at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Bello, winner of the last three national tournaments – the 20th National Sports Festival, Aso Cup, and National Championships, was dazed in the semi-final of the women’s singles by Kwara’s Bisola Asaju while her arch-rival, Lagos State’s Odusanya, finally got her hands on a trophy having lost the last two national tournaments to Bello.
Bayelsa’s Samuel Boboye was the surprise star of the tournament. The 15-year-old waltzed his way to the final having taken down some of the top players on his way to a meeting against Mati in the final.
The men’s singles final had all the elements of a world-class display by the players with Mati playing with a lot of caution against Boboye who had earlier in the day beaten the national U-21 champion in the group stage.
Despite starting well in the final, Boboye could not re-enact his earlier performance against Mati, and he bowed to the superiority of Mati at 4-2 (13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-13, 11-7. 1-11) in less than an hour.
In the women’s singles, Odusanya became the champion after beating Asaju 4-2 (11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6). An elated Odusanya described the victory as a reward for her hard work which has always been thwarted by Bello in the last two tournaments while hoping to remain on top of her game in subsequent tournaments.
The one-day N1.2m prize money tournament was sponsored by the Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) Gafar Bolowotan under the umbrella of Renewed Hope, Lagos.
Bolowotan, who was impressed with the organisation, coupled with the display by the players, said the commission would continue to support such tournaments which have continued to attract the best players in the country.
He also lauded the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for their ingenuity in putting the tournament together
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