29th September, 2013
For staging a befitting and world-class Lagos International Classics, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has granted Nigeria the hosting right for the 2014 African Top 16 Cup.
According to the President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the bid was approved based on the recommendation of the Executive Committee of ATTF.
“This is to confirm that ITTF has approved the bid of Nigeria based on the recommendation of ATTF Executive Committee to stage the 2014 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup in Lagos from 27-28 June, 2014. We are confident the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) can organise a continental/world title event with a success. The last Lagos International Table Tennis Classics was quite successful in terms of media coverage, while the turnout of spectators really gave a good image to the event. Moreover, the technical benefit for Nigerian players was also a big gain,” the ATTF boss said.
He added: “The Lagos Classics was a pilot project for Nigeria and ATTF to use the media coverage to promote advertising/sponsorship resources, as well as the expected technical promotion for all African players especially Nigerian players.”
With the tournament already listed in the ITTF calendar for 2014, the ATTF Vice President, Olabanji Oladapo, believes Nigeria would derive a lot of gains from staging the championship.
His words: “As I said in one of my interviews during the Lagos Classics that the classics was a test event that will open doors for other ITTF/ATTF sanctioned competitions for Nigeria. The way it was managed was good and it made it easier for us to push for the Africa Top 16 Cup despite intense lobbying from other African countries to host the competition. We have shown ITTF/ATTF our capacity to organise a good competition and I am sure more opportunities will come our way.”
He added: “Nigeria will get equipment from the ITTF that will be used for the competition and ITTF will also send their experts to Nigeria to train our technical officials in our area of needs. Our performance in organising the Africa Top 16 Cup will also open doors for other opportunities, while the presence of top players in the Africa Top 16 Cup and world class players in the Lagos Classics will expose our players and table tennis lovers to high level competition.”
An excited NTTF President, Wahid Oshodi, describes this development as a sign of good things to come to the sport in Nigeria.
“We are pleased that the ATTF has granted the NTTF the hosting rights to the new premier competition in Africa. This is fallout of the success we recorded during the hosting of the Lagos Classics, which we recently held and it is in recognition of the hard work the NTTF has done in the last three months to develop the game in Nigeria. To bring the Top 16 male and female players in Africa to Lagos will further help our efforts to popularise the game. We have received many accolades as regards the organisation of the Lagos Classics and we are grateful to all our sponsors both corporate and individuals, especially the Governor of Lagos State and the large number of lovers of the game who made the tournament a success. We will work hard to ensure that we deliver a first class tournament so that the confidence reposed in us by the ITTF will be fully justified,” Oshodi said.
He specifically singled out the enormous support the Lagos Classics got from the media, saying, “We are also extremely grateful to our friends in the media because the coverage of the Lagos Classics was a first of its kind. Across all media, the support and the stories that came out were excellent and this is to say how teamwork worked out well for us.”