Para table tennis players will enjoy N10.8m ($30,000) in prize money at the maiden edition of the Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open which is set for 19-21 December at the Sir Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium organisers have announced.
The three-day tournament is being put together by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) in collaboration with Sunday Odebode Sports Foundation with support from Vaulejet Airline.
Already, players within and outside Africa have indicated interest to be part of the tournament which is being staged in Nigeria for the first time.
NTTF President, Ishaku Tikon believes the tournament would help put players who have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in great shape for the sports fiesta in Japan.
“This is a good development for table tennis in Nigeria and we are grateful to our sponsor – Valuejet for deeming it fit to support the championship.
We are excited and we can’t wait for the tournament to serve off as our aim is to make it a ranking event by 2020 on the ITTF calendar. This is another first from NTTF and we hope our players and visitors will enjoy the warmth of Lagos and Nigeria during the competition,” the NTTF boss said.
According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the aim of the tournament is to develop para table tennis in Nigeria and expose the players to a world class competition where they will compete against some of the best players in the world.
“We want to use this competition to develop para table tennis in Nigeria while also promoting the talents of the players. We believe this tournament will enhance the sport as well as give us leverage to stage and be listed among the ITTF tournament in near future. Our players will also be exposed to competition among themselves and other players coming to Nigeria for the championship,” Odebode said.
From December 16 to 18, and ITTF classifier from Egypt will be in Lagos to classify the players to their classes while the tournament will kick off on December 19 to 21 with the top three in each event getting prize money for their efforts.
44 titles will be competed for in class 1 to 10 in singles and team events for men and women.