Lagos – The Lagos State Table Tennis team said on Sunday that the training tour to China, had boosted their confidence ahead of the forthcoming 18th National Sports Festival.
The Team Captain, Ayo Omotara, said this moments after their arrival aboard an Ethiopia Airlines flight from Beijing.
The 12-man team was exposed to a 10-day high class training at the Chinese National Training Centre in Hebei.
“We are sure of winning all the gold medals at stake at the festival,” Omotara, son of ex-international, Titus, said.
“There is no doubt that the facilities at the Training Centre were excellent and we utilised them very well.
“It was an experience that will remain with us forever. I am now using this opportunity to assure the state government that we will return the state to the zenith of the game at the festival.
“The team is indeed ready and we pledge to display the knowledge we acquired in China at the festival,” Omotara assured.
Olajide Omotayo, a team member, said that among things they leant from the tour were speed, accuracy, endurance and discipline, which, he said, would be handy in the course of his career.
“I think the speed, accuracy and endurance of the Chinese were some of the things I picked from China. All these will indeed help me as a player.”
The duo of Funke Hassan and Fatimo Bello, said that the trip had imparted in them new techniques of the game.
Hassan, who has represented Nigeria at various international tournaments, said that the tour would aid the team to reclaim the table tennis title from Ondo State at the festival.
“I want to say that the tour is an eye-opener for the players and this alone will assist us to conquer our opponents at the festival.”
Bello, on her part, said that the tour had enabled her to improve on her movement.
“One thing that I gained from the tour is how to move well on table, and I will continue to work on this before the commencement of the festival.”
The leader of the delegation, John Peters, said that the training, coupled with the exposure to top class facilities, he was sure that the team would surpass its previous performance at the festival.
Peters, the longest serving table tennis referee in the country, said that the players were determined to reciprocate the state government’s gesture by making the state proud at Eko 2012.
The 10-day training tour was bank-rolled by the Lekki Free Zone Development Company and Corporate Leisure Ltd., in partnership with the state Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development.
The festival will hold in Lagos from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9. (NAN)