By Francis Ajuonuma
As the World Table Tennis Contender Lagos 2023 gets set to serve off on Monday, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) headed by Wahid Enitan Oshodi has assured of a hitch-free and top-class tournament.
Oshodi, who is also Executive Vice President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) gave the assurance on Thursday while speaking with the media on the state of readiness for the tournament expected to feature over 50 world top players among the 140 players set to compete for points and $75, 000 at stake.
The LOC chairman noted that all the necessary things have been put in place to ensure the successful staging of the tournament which will also serve as point scoring tournament for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
He believes that with the quality of players coming for the WTT Contender in Lagos, fans should expect a very competitive tournament.
“The WTT Contender Series is a big tournament for a federation the size of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) to be pulling off the best players in the world, former world number one, Dimitrij Ovtcharov. it gives us pride when players like that want to come here. And they want to come here for the main good reason; every person talks about the atmosphere in Lagos, the passion of the fans, of the people, and the coverage they get. So, is for good reason they want to come here and hopefully we’ll be able to put on a good show for them again,” he said.
He explained that the competition will be decided on knockout bases in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles with the players representing 31 countries.
Also speaking at the event, tournament manager, Dr. Kweku Tandor, was optimistic that the standard of the tournament will be higher than the previous ITTF Nigeria Open due the
“This WTT event is the first of its kind in Nigeria. we have been having the ITTF Nigerian Open over the last six or seven years thereabout but this is the first WTT contender series event. This year we are going to have three of them in Africa. Earlier in the year we had one in Durban, South Africa and the second now in Lagos, while the third will be in Tunisia after this event. What it means is that the status of this event has been elevated, is now a contender series event, and also it will serve as an event where you can get your ranking points towards qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics and that’s why this year we are having top-ranked players from all over the world.
“So the standard is definitely going to be higher. And of course, the demand for continuity in terms of organisation is also going to be higher because we have been used to having this kind of event in the last seven or eight years we have been able to put a team together to put up a tournament that will be real befitting not only to Lagos but of Nigeria that the WTT, ITTF will be proud of,” the former Lagos State Sports Commission chairman said.