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LASG says sports can be used to rekindle hope in youths

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LASG says sports can be used to rekindle hope in youths

By Oladapo Udom and Oluwaseun Fadugba

Lagos State Sports Commission General Manager Oluwatoyin Gafar said sport can be used to rekindle the hope of young people, especially with the political situation in the country.

Gafar said this during the 2021 Renewed Hope Top-16 Invitational Challenge Table Tennis One-Day Competition which ended on Saturday at Molade Okoya-Thomas Sports Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos State.

The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that 16 players played in the male and female categories respectively.

NAN reports that for the men’s category; Taiwo Mati came first, Samuel Boboye second and Ahmed Bello third. They received cash prizes of N 200,000, N 100,000 and N 50,000 respectively.

In women, Bose Odusanya placed first, followed by Bisola Asaju and Fatimo Bello. They won cash prizes of N 200,000, N 100,000 and N 50,000 respectively.

The director said it was important to tell young people that their hope could still be renewed, which gave birth to the competition.

“Thirty-two best Nigerian players and by extension, including four classified in Africa, participated in the competition.

“We must continue to encourage them and give them hope by rekindling their interest in sport instead of being in the streets constituting a nuisance for society.

“The rigor of the game meets the international standards to which they are supposed to be exposed,” he said.

Gafar said the one-day competition was the first of its kind in Nigeria according to international standards and that more such competitions will be held in the future.

Wahid Oshodi, former president of the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), said he was impressed with the performance of the athletes and would like them to play for the national team.

“I think no more than five people outside of Nigeria can match these boys,” Oshodi said.

He said he is confident that most of the players who have excelled in this competition will perform at the African Championship in September.

“I can bet you that we are going to see one or two of these young children wearing the jersey alongside Haruna Quadri and that will make us very proud,” said Oshodi.

Martin, the winner of the boys category and also junior African champion, said he saw the tournament flyer and knew it was going to be tough and tough.

“So I trained in cardiovascular exercises to improve my endurance, which helped me finish games and focus more on my pace,” said Martin.

Boboye, fifteen and a junior in the NTTF Championship, said he was proud of himself for reaching the final for which he thanked God.

“I was so proud of myself because the tournament was difficult. I played my best and reached the final, which is a great achievement for me, ”he said.

Women’s category winner Odusanya said she did not believe she could win the competition as she was recently released from the hospital.

“I praise God for winning this tournament because I was recently released from the hospital.

“I didn’t believe I could go to the final, but praise God for this great victory,” she said.

Ama-Ebi Ebikpolade, president of the Bayelsa State Table Tennis Association, applauded the performance of the athletes which he described as exhilarating.

“However, for me Boboye is the star of this tournament because he is the most improved player and I am sure he will go far,” said the president. (NAA)

(NAN)

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