The best table tennis players across the country will compete for a share of the N1.2m purse at the one-day Lagos Top 16 Invitational Challenge which serves off on Saturday, 12 June at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The selected players who are expected in Lagos today were invited on the basis of their performance in the last three national tournaments including the 20th National Sports Festival held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The championship sponsored is Renewed Hope owned by the Director-General of the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Gafar Bolowotan who explained that the competition aims to encourage healthy rivalry among the country’s leading players.
The tournament format will see 16 male and 16 female players drawn into four groups of four players with the top two advancing to the next stage, where they will be drawn into two groups of four players each. The top two from the second stage advance to the semifinal of the championships.
Fatimo Bello of G20 will be staking her unbeaten run in the last three tournaments but will have to contend with arch-rival Bose Odusanya of Lagos who will be relying on home support to inflict a first singles defeat on Bello this year.
Amadi Omeh, Azeez Solanke and Rilwan Akanbi are champions in the last three tournaments and they will be up against one another again alongside U21 national champion Taiwo Mati who is aiming to claim his first senior title.
World Table Tennis (WTT) Star Youth Contender silver medalist Usman Okanlawon, as well as national cadet champion Samuel Boboye, will also pit wits against other senior players in what is shaping up to be the battle of the best in the country.
The one-day invitational is organised under the auspices of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association (LSTTA), with technical support from the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF.