A new tournament record is set by Bose Odusanya at the 52nd Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup after she claimed her sixth women’s singles title of the oldest sporting event in Nigeria.
From 2015, Odusanya had been unbeaten in the final and again this year she reclaimed her title after beating Kehinde Oyeniyi 4-0 (11-1, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11) to emerge as champion.
Tidesports source gathered that the two-day tournament ended yesterday at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
She is the first player in the history of the tournament to claim the title consecutively six times in a row.
With the quarterfinal exit of men’s singles defending champion David Fayele, a former champion Ahmed Adeyinka reclaimed the title again.
Fayele, who had boasted of his intention to claim his title was shocked in the quarterfinal by Augustine Emmanuel who put an end to the dream of the soldier man with 4-2 (5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Despite working his way to the final, Emmanuel was no match to Adeyinka in the men’s singles final as he was overwhelmed by the experienced opponent.
From the start of the tie, it was as if Emmanuel was going to humble another former champion but from the way and manner Adeyinka approached the match, it was clear that he had learnt from the downfall of Fayele in the quarterfinal.
In less than 30 minutes, Adeyinka had defeated Emmanuel 4-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5) to wipe off the tears of losing in the final last year.
A total of 48 men and 25 women competed in the tournament which has continued to churn out stars for Lagos and Nigeria.
Director General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Gafar Bolowotan, said that the staging of the tournament by the family of late Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas was a confirmation of the commitment of the family to grassroots development.
“I am happy that the family decided to stage the tournament this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and that new players have emerged; we believe the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSSC) would take up some of the discoveries from there.
He commended the players for following the laid-down COVID-19 protocols throughout the tournament to protect the lives of athletes.
Ayodeji Okoya-Thomas, who spoke on behalf of the family, said that this year’s tournament faced outright cancellation but had to be scaled down due to COVID-19 pandemic
“I do not feel too good about it that we do not have the 22 events but we had to make a decision.
“We either cancel or just have two events, which is women singles and men singles,” Molade-Okoya said.
He added that the family was just being careful not to organise a tournament that would increase the risk of COVID-19.
“We do not want it to be on record that we missed the tournament in a year,” he said.
Femi Sokoya, Chairman, Lagos State Table Tennis Association, said that he was glad the tournament was held.
He added that the tournament had encourage a lot of athletes to improve.
“Am extremely excited about the tournament and I have seen a lot of improvement in some players.
“We are already following up with some new talents and already speaking with their coaches to fish them out so we can encourage them to continue.
“The lady that got beaten had the finals had shown a lot of improvement, last year she lost out at the semi finals.
“This year she has improved a lot, though her performance at the finals was not encouraging”, he said.
He added that the passion for table tennis had ensure the tournament was held.
NAN reports that the first place got a Samsung air conditioner each, second place, 43 inches Samsung television, while third place got Panasonic standing fan each.
Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.
Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses – Aikhomogbe
Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.
Enyimba Players Vow To Support Finidi
Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.
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