Fatimo Bello finally lost a singles game this year at the Lagos Top Invitational Table Tennis Challenge as Taiwo Mati and Bose Odusanya claimed the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the one-day tournament held at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Bello who won all her singles events this year at the 20th National Sports Festival, Aso Cup, and National Championships was dazed in the semifinal of the women’s singles by Kwara’s Bisola Asaju while her arch-rival Lagos’ Odusanya finally cuddled a trophy having lost the last two national tournaments to Bello.
Bayelsa’s Samuel Boboye was the surprise star of the tournament as the 15-year-old waltzed his way to the final having taking down some top players on his way to the final against Mati.
The men’s singles final had all the elements of a world-class display by the players with Mati playing with a lot of caution against Boboye who had earlier in the day beaten the national U-21 champion in the group stage.
Despite starting well in the final, Boboye could not re-enact his earlier performance against Mati, and in less than an hour, he bowed to the superiority of Mati at 4-2 (13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-13, 11-7. 1-11).
In the women’s singles, Odusanya became claimed the title after beating Asaju 4-2 (11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6).
An elated Odusanya described the victory as a reward for her hardwork which has always been thwarted by Bello in the last two tournaments while hoping to remain on top of her game in subsequent tournaments.
The one-day N1.2m prize money tournament was sponsored by the Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) Gafar Bolowotan under the umbrella of Renewed Hope, Lagos.
Bolowotan who was impressed with the organization coupled with the display by the players said the commission would continue to support such a tournament which has continued to attract the best players in the country. He also lauded the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) for putting the tournament together.