Nigerian table tennis players at the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open will have added motivation to end the long-standing jinx of never winning the singles title with a dangling cash gift over such feat.
The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode has promised to give cash bonuses to successful Nigerian players participating in the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open tournament.
The Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Babatunde Bank-Anthony made this known at the press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, August 7.
“His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has instituted a bonus for Nigerian players that will do well in all categories both Men singles and Women Singles because we know that they may not get to win the titles”, Bank-Anthony said
Bank-Anthony also said, “We will make use of the bonus wisely to encourage Nigerian players to go further and we believe that this will help them to at least improve and perform better”.
From the inception of the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, no Nigerian player has won the title in the singles events but assurance from Olajide Omotayo and Esther Oribamise has shown that the host will not disappoint this year.
Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Olajide Omotayo believes with the present form of some of the Nigerian players; they are ready to wrestle the title from the foreigners.
“We are all ready for the tournament this year because we have the quality to match the foreigners and I am hopeful that we will give our best and hope for the best this. The likes of Aruna Quadri, Bode Abiodun, and Segun Toriola have always inspired us that we can be the best in the game. We are fully ready to see Nigerian players on the podium this year,” he said.
Oribamise, a bronze medalist at the 3rd African Youth Games in Algiers is also optimistic that things would look up for Nigerian players this year.
“We are all in good shape and I can tell you that all of us know what is at stake. Apart from the prize money we are also aiming to improve our ranking with this tournament,” she said.