Lagos plans to raise prize money to attract better players, says Tinubu

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The Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor on Sports, Mr. Deji Tinubu has revealed that the state plans to increase the prize money for the just concluded Seamaster International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Nigeria Open to attract better players in subsequent tournaments.

The Nigerian Open was held at the weekend at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

Two Egyptians won both the men and women’s titles in addition to winning the silver medal in the women’s doubles.

Speaking to The Guardian at the occasion, Tinubu said Lagos was pleased with the outcome of the championship despite Nigerian players’ failure to win the laurels.

“Obviously, we are very satisfied with the biggest, richest table tennis competition in Africa. We saw the quality, may be we expected the losers to do a little bit more in the finals. It just shows the caliber of the players, and the fact that we had a full house where the governor was present tells you we are very satisfied to the extent that he is looking at increasing the prize money to attract even better players.

“We are satisfied when the international body comes and say they have enjoyed Lagos… when they say the organisation has been good. Even the players themselves are saying that they cannot wait to come back again, then you know you are on the right path,” he said.

Tinubu, who is also the chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, commended the former president of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Enitan Oshodi for his personal efforts at promoting the game in the country.

“What we should be praying for now is that the new board of the NTTF sustains what Oshodi did. And if that happens, I believe that in the next couple of years, we will be happy.

“Already, I hear the last board has identified a couple of young players that people are speaking highly of, and we will be watching them in the next couple of years. Now we are breathing confidence that table tennis in Nigeria is moving forward and not backward,” he stated.

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