The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Efunkoya Foundation, sponsors of the maiden National Cadet Table Tennis Championships, has expressed satisfaction at the turnout of players for the tournament.
A Member of the BOT, Toun Engore, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that the impressive turnout showed that young players were eager for opportunities to develop their skills.
NAN reports that 52 players, comprising of U-15 boys and girls are participating in the three-day championships which began on Thursday at the Indoor Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
“This is the first edition of this championships, and we are having such good turnout of young players. I must confess that I am impressed.
“The amazing thing is the passion being exhibited by the players as they take their turns on the table,’’ she said.
She praised the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), organisers of the championships, for adequate preparation.
“Everything is going on fine; players are happy competing with their peers because the competition is restricted to U-15; that is the age category on the table,” she added.
She added that scholarships would be given to players who would distinguish themselves in the boys and girls singles event, to support their education.
NAN reports that the competition is in honour of Adegboyega Efunkoya, a former Chairman of Nigeria Table Tennis Association (NTTA), who died in 2006.
NAN also reports that 33 players were on Thursday disqualified from the competition over age falsification.
The tournament Director, John Peters, had told NAN that the players were disqualified during screening.
“It was a very strict and meticulous exercise, and the purpose was achieved because we were able to screen out 33 over-aged players.
The director said that the record would form a data base to monitor the progress of the U-15 players and to guard against age falsification.
“We have also taken advantage of the screening to have a genuine data base of age ages 15 and below, which we will use to monitor them in subsequent and related table tennis championships,’’ Peters said.
According to him, the players were drawn from 10 states, namely: Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Kwara, Ondo State, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Lagos State, while registered Zamfara and Akwa-Ibom players were being expected as at Thursday.