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Nigerian official eyes Chinese partnership in table tennis

By Xinhua Friday, 13 Mar 2015 11:00

Lagos Open table tennis tournament has called for the partnership between Nigeria and China toward reviving the sport in the country.

Olaranti Lajide, a tabla tennis coach in Nigeria and tournament director for the ongoing 3rd International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, described table tennis as world class sport that requires the expertise of the Chinese.

Nigeria's ascendancy in table tennis was due to the vision of the late Adegboyega Efunkoya, who in 1973 entered into a bilateral relationship with China under which 12 Nigerian teenagers from the then 12 states in Nigeria lived in China on table tennis scholarship, for six months.

Lajide, a former table tennis player, said that the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) looks forward to renewing the agreement.

"I am sure China takes a lead in table tennis and we cannot afford to progress without the Chinese expertise," he added.

On the tournament, the director said: "We need to have top ranked players within the 1-20 to come here, and when you think about that, you are thinking about the Chinese players.

"Once they come here, believe me, more people are going to come, because the challenge in table tennis is China, and everybody wants to beat the Chinese player, so, if we have them here, its going to create a lot of advantage to our tournament," he added.

"We need improvement on our facilities in terms of the tables and all the supportive equipment, and am sure that China take a lead in this area,"Lajide said.

The table tennis tournament kicked off in Nigeria's commercial hub of Lagos on Monday, attracting 82 local and foreign players from 11 countries and regions.

Players are competeting in the 46,000-US-dollar prize money championship which is a world ranking event listed on the ITTF World Tour calendar as a challenge series.

The annual tournament is listed in the score-ranking competition system of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), and highly appraised by the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF).

The tournament will run until March 14.

Tags: table tennis


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