ITTF Premier Lotto Nigeria Open: Nigerians Can Break The Jinx, Says Toriola

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Segun Toriola
Segun Toriola

The jinx of not winning the title since its inception may be broken by Nigerian players at the 2016 ITTF Premier Lotto Nigeria Open.
According to the most decorated table tennis player in Africa, Segun Toriola, there are possibility of Nigerian players dominating the tournament this year.
Twice Nigerian players have made it to the final of the ITTF Premier Lotto Nigeria Open but they have not been able to clinch the title, and with just few days to the kick off, former African champion, Segun Toriola believes the title will not be beyond the reach of Nigerian players.
Toriola, a finalist at the 2013 edition of the competition said he is optimistic that Nigerian players have the wherewithal to claim the laurel but three-time winner, Egypt’s Omar Assar has been ‘extra-ordinary lucky’ to have claimed the titles ahead of the local players.
“I think Nigerian players have always been capable of winning the title in all the three editions of the competition. It was just that we were unlucky not to have won the title having made it to the final twice. I played the final in 2013 and Aruna Quadri made it to the final in 2015. Apart from this, Nigerian players have always been making it to the semifinal stage. I believe we can win the title this year because most of the foreign-based players have been doing very well in their various clubs and the skills and talents of the local players cannot be underestimated,” he said.
The former Commonwealth champion who will be attending his seventh Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil was however thrilled with the turnout of players particularly participants from Europe and this he says would help raise the standard of the sport in Nigeria.
“I believe the presence of players across the globe particularly the ones from Europe will surely help our players who have not been playing against Europeans. The eyes of the world are now on Nigeria with the giant stride the country has made in the last four years by hosting such quality competition. I am hopeful that our players will surely gain from taking part in the tournament and the profile of the sport will continue to improve in the country,” Toriola added.

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