Former African Champions, Segun Toriola and Funke Oshonaike will spearhead Team Nigerian quest for honours in the main draw of the first Lagos International Table Tennis Classics.
Toriola, a six-time Olympian will be joined in the men’s team by Portugal-based Aruna Quadri, former junior sensation, Ojo Onaolapo and rave of the moment, Kazeem Makanjuola.
For the women’s team, Germany-based Oshonaike, a five-time Olympian will lead the team and Edem Offiong, Janet Effiom and National Sports Festival champion, Rasheedat Ogundele, will join her as they confront other top players at the event.
In the junior category, Jide Omotayo and Tosin Oribamise will lead Team Nigeria onslaught in the event.
However, the likes of Monday Merotohun, Seun Ajetunmobi, Ganiat Ogudele and Cecilia Otu-Akpan will be aiming for places in the main draw as they file out against their compatriots in the two-day qualifiers meant for Nigeria-based players, which will serve off on Wednesday August 22.
Meanwhile, Vice President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Olabanji Oladapo believes the classics would surely improve the lot of the game in Nigeria.
“My expectation of Nigerian players is to represent the country well as sports men and women. It will be an icing on the cake if they win the classics. We were in the process of wasting a generation of players to inactivity and lack of exposure. By hosting the classics, our players will have the opportunity to play and watch highly ranked players in action,” he said.
The ITTF board member added: “The classics is an ATTF / ITTF approved competition. Hence, it offers Nigerian players in the top three an opportunity to score points and be ranked by the ITTF. It is the beginning of many good things to come.