In order to be part of this month’s ITTF Africa Top 16 cup and Olympics Qualifying Tournament in Sudan as well as the World Championship in Malaysia, the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) is soliciting for the financial support of the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The tournaments, which would help some of the players who had already qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics to tune up for the games, will also afford more players to book their places at the multi-sports championship in Brazil.
Already, Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Oshonaike have confirmed their spots at the Olympics while Segun Toriola will be aiming for history as the first athlete in Africa to compete at seven Olympics as the former Africa join other players from the continent to compete at the final qualifiers in Sudan. Also aiming for her third Olympics outing is Edem Offiong who will join Toriola in the qualifiers scheduled for February 16 to 18 in Khartoum.
The ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup, which serves off on February 14 and 15, has four Nigerian players – Quadri, Toriola, Oshonaike and Offiong competing against other 28 players for the continent slots in this year’s ITTF World Cups.
In a passionate appeal to NSC, President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi said: “Two of our players – Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Oshonaike – have already qualified for the Olympics singles event and we also expect Segun Toriola and Edem Offiong to qualify from the event in Sudan. We have really made great strides in the last two years but sadly funding continues to restrict our progress. From the event, we have set out our proposal, you would glean that our focus is on the junior category. This of course is in a bid to develop new generations of layers to take over from the Toriolas and Oshonaikes. So we are making a passionate appeal to the commission to support us to attend the all-important competitions in Sudan and Malaysia.”
He however, lauded the commission for their unflinching support in the past while hoping for more backing in 2016 in order for the federation to achieve its objectives this year.
Meanwhile, the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) have confirmed the list of 16 players expected to compete at the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup while the organisers of the World Championship in Malaysia has confirmed that Nigeria’s first group match will be against Turkey on February 28.
Other teams in Nigeria’s group in Malaysia are India, Switzerland, Slovakia and Vietnam while the two top teams advance to the knockout stage of the championship holding in Kuala Lumpur.