After four days of action, Lagos and Kwara States are the leading teams in the maiden Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) U-16 national league holding at the National Training Centre of the National Stadium in Lagos.
Apart from topping the table with points, players from Lagos and Kwara have got the large chunk of the prize money with Emmanuel Augustine who has 54 points getting over N15, 000 in the last four days in the boys event while Kwara’s Sukurat Aiyelabegan topped the girls event with 48points and making over N13, 000. Daily winner of the league gets 15points and N5, 000 as prize money with a plaque to show for his or her efforts. From the four days concluded, Lagos’ Augustine has won twice, while Kwara’s Aiyelabegan also claiming two titles.
Other daily winners include Ekiti’s Abayomi Animasahun and Lagos’ Qudus Surmer in the boys’ event while Kwara’s Rofiat Jimoh with 42 points claimed the title twice like her teammate, Aiyelabegan.
With two days left to compete in the league, the race for the Super League gets tighter as the players continue to fight for points and aiming for the cash prize in the tournament.
According to the tournament referee, John Peters, the tournament has indeed thrown up talents particularly players that are unknown.
“I must tell you that since the competition has started last week, we have seen talents and players that are ready to displace those popular ones. The boys have really shown that there is hope for table tennis in Nigeria because they have displayed exceptional skills which I believe will rival their foreign counterparts in major competitions. I am hoping that at the end of the tournament, we will have more players in the database that can compete at international level. The girls’ event is not too bad but we just need to support these athletes with quality training and guidance,” the ITTF blue badge umpire said.
The Rio 2016 Olympics-bound umpire added that the standard of the competition has been encouraging as the players have proved that with more training and exposure they can replicate the feat set by the likes of Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri.
Over nine states are competing in the tournament with the top 12 boys and eight girls qualifying for the grand finale known as Super League holding on May 14 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
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