Players in the ongoing National Table Tennis Junior League say the competition would strengthen their preparations for the forthcoming International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Nigeria Open.
Seventy-two players are participating in the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) organised league holding at the National Stadium, Lagos, from July 28 to Aug. 4.
Twenty-two countries are expected at the forthcoming ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open slated to hold at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos from Aug. 8 to Aug. 12.
Jimoh Rofiat, arising star within Nigeria’s table tennis circuit, she was delighted as her participation in the league has sharpened her skill ahead of the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open.
Rofiat, who lost in the last 16 in the girl’s event at 2017 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, expressed confidence that with her improved form, she would perform better in 2018 edition.
“The league is a major national competition that we always look forward to due to its standard, ranking, and it is preparation for major international games such as the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open.
“Although, I lost out in the last 16 last year, but this time around, I will surpass that level. Thank God for this league, because it has enhanced my technical ability,’’ she said.
Also, Zainab Surmer, who won bronze medal in the girls’ singles at the 2016 national league edition, applauded the NTTF for reinstating the league which did not hold in 2017.
Surmer said the league was a good experience for her as she had opportunity to compete favourably with quality players.
“Kudos to NTTF; we are happy that the league is back, as it brings players from states and clubs together to compete and know our level of development.
“The league was a good exposure for me, because I competed with players outside my district and that experience really helped me in the ITTF tournament, even if I didn’t go far,’’ she said.
Also, Michael Abayomi described the league as a standard competition.
Abayomi said that he was impressed with the officiating and quality of players amongst whom were participant at international meets.
He said the league schedule had helped him to build self-confidence and was ready to compete with famous national players, foreign-based and foreign peers in the forthcoming ITTF tournament.
Abayomi urged the NTTF to sustain the standard of the league, adding that it would lay down a good platform for the existing and upcoming players to take off.
“There is improvement in the organisation; the officiating is handled by certified referees; the venue is bright and the facilities are standard and has set the pace for us in the ITTF tournament.
“I am already in the competition mood; the confidence is there.
“So, I am going to bring my experience to play during my games in the ITTF Challenge Open,’’ he said.